Construction projects are commonplace while driving around Issaquah, including many private projects, as the city continues to experience rapid growth.
The city maintains an Active Projects List, which provides information on 67 projects in various stages right now, including private projects.
“We know we are growing and we’ve been working hard to put the right development tools in place to ensure that the impacts of growth are well managed and our community retains the things that make it attractive to our current residents and businesses, such as good schools, quiet neighborhoods, strong retail base and easy access to parks, trails and open space,” said Keith Niven, economic and development services director.
Lesan Gouge, the city’s neighborhood engagement coordinator, highlighted some of the big private projects currently under construction in each of Issaquah’s neighborhoods.
The Alexan Apartments project is in the Issaquah Highlands. The project is at 10th Avenue Notheast and Northeast Falls Drive. When completed, it will be a seven-story, multi-family building with 135 residential units and structured parking spots underneath the building for a total of 213 parking spots on site. It’s anticipated to be completed in late 2020.
Also in the Highlands is the Westridge Block 4 affordable housing project on the northwest corner of the Notheast Ellis Drive and Westridge Way Northeast. There will be 38 affordable condo units and one life enrichment house, with an anticipated completion time of mid 2020.
In the Olde Town neighborhood is phase 2 of the Kelkari project at 1000 Cabin Creek Lane, expected to be completed in mid 2021. The project will create 35 townhomes, all three stories and each have a two-car garage, on 2.19 acres.
The Poplar Building project is in Central Issaquah at 2005 NW Poplar Way. The building offers four-story, mixed-use office and retail space, expected to be completed in mid 2020.
The Gilman Lofts are also located in Central Issaquah at 160 NW Gilman Blvd. A four-story mixed-use building features 140 work lofts with retail space and 71 covered parking spaces.
These two office buildings are the two projects that Niven said he is most excited for.
“These are the first new office projects to be built in Issaquah in the last 10 years. Both are actively seeking tenants right now — Gilman Lofts has the capacity to hold up to 140 entrepreneurial start ups or small businesses. Poplar office building is hoping to attract a tech company,” he said. “We have seen a lot of residential growth recently. Although Costco’s new office building is exciting (and big), these projects will provide opportunities for our city to attract new businesses, allowing our non-service employment to grow in step with our new housing.”
Some of the city’s active projects are in the idea stage, others are in preliminary review or land use review. Some are getting construction permits, others are almost fully constructed. The city could look different in the near future.
Jen Davis Hayes, development services project oversight manager, said there are many other projects that are also in the works — but not yet visible — and those projects will bring changes to Issaquah.
New schools are in the land use review projects list, she said.
Niven said new schools are the projects that he thinks will have the most dramatic impact on the community.
“In 2016, voters supported Issaquah School District’s half-billion dollar capital projects bond measure to build and rebuild Issaquah schools. The district identified the need for a new high school, middle school, and two new elementary schools. Schools in the city have been at max capacity for some time and new schools will help to spread students out and alleviate capacity issues,” he said.
The Issaquah School District’s new Issaquah Middle School is currently under construction, and two other school projects are under review.
As far as which current private projects create the biggest impact on traffic and road work, Niven cites the developments happening along Newport Way Northwest. Three neighboring residential projects there (Riva, Anthology and Revel) were all permitted at about the same time and all required improvements to Newport Way Northwest.
He said all three began construction at slightly staggered yet similar times, which has created a cumulative impact greater than any single project.
“The city has worked to ensure that the developers are collaborating with each other to lessen the impacts for the community, and we have been piloting a new approach to neighborhood outreach in an attempt to keep the adjacent neighborhoods informed,” Niven said.
Residents can sign up for the city website’s Notify Me system to receive email updates for various city happenings, including alerts for development, transportation and traffic.