Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Developer plans to build two, 9-Story Towers on the old Post Office site

I found out on social media today that two, 9-Story Towers are planned for the old Post Office site on 16135 NE 85th Street. You can contact city planner Gary Lee for the specifics of this project at glee@redmond.gov and to make comment about parking, traffic, the aquifer, etc.

According to the Public Lane-Use Notice:  The applicant, "Redmond Projects" plans to construct 250 dwelling units, 25,000 sq ft of retail space and 83,000 sq ft of office space on a 2.29 acre site.  No Public Hearing is required but you can Comment to the Administration by calling Gary Lee (425-556-2418) or emailing him.  The City is only accepting Comments until January 27th.

Gary Lee writes:  "Construction is anticipated to begin between the 4th quarter of 2016 and the 1st quarter of 2017.  If things go as planned the first tower will be completed in the Spring of 2018."

As for parking, Gary Lee writes:  "There should be sufficient parking (with 362 stalls). Because the office use and residential uses have opposite peak hours, they can realistically share a lot of the parking stalls (and it's close to the transit center.)"

Personally, I was blind-sided to learn the City zones for 9-Story High Rises in the Downtown. I had earlier been informed only 6-story buildings were allowed.  When was the zoning changed?  Why wasn't the public notified of this change?  Will the boutique hotel planned for Redmond Town Center be higher than 6 stories?

What part, if any, does One Redmond play in this?  Why can't they give the community timely development updates?

Bob Yoder

This project (and others) are buried in the City Web Site "Design Review Board Agenda".  There is presently an opening on the Design Review Board for a "Redmond resident".

One Redmond Facebook page


Richard Morris said...

I also knew of the 6-story height restriction. I was wondering why the Old Post Office was standing empty for so long. I never saw any signs showing "Proposed Land Use" at the project job site.

Anita said...

The comment about office parking and resident parking having opposite peak hours doesn't make sense in light of the walkability philosophy that Redmond is trying to promote. If people are supposed to live and work in Redmond, then the business parking would be in addition to the resident parking. Why would someone live there, move their car and then take a bus from the transit center? The people that need parking are those of us that live 2-3 miles away on Education Hill and have no alternative way to get to downtown Redmond.

Bob Yoder said...

Hi Richard,
Gary Lee, the city planner, told me today he personally posted the notice on the site. I'm assuming it is on one of those yellow notice boards.

Daniel Kirkdorffer said...

Same thought as Anita: you have to expect that many residents will take transit to work and leave their car in the parking lot during the day. I know that I would not want to live their if I wasn't assured of a parking spot and had to compete with office workers for one.

Daniel Kirkdorffer said...

I'd always thought Redmond had a 6 story limit as well, which is why Microsoft couldn't build taller buildings on their campus and the Redmond Marriott is no taller.

Anonymous said...

The staff memo says this about the zoning:

The proposed development is allowed to be 8-stories tall, with the provision of 20% of the site being open space, available to the public in the form of interior court yards and walkways on the podium. The development is also allowed an additional story by the reducing the building height at the edges of the site, and locating the reduced floor area to the additional (9th) floor.

Anonymous said...

Hours and commute should be compatible. I too was disappointed on how the city responded but am not surprised. City Council- I would appreciate a non-political straight English response.

Bob Yoder said...

I thought city planner, Gary Lee's response and info on parking at the Towers was very helpful AND non-political.

Anonymous said...

Considering the traffic issues we are facing on 85th (around 5 PM it can take up to 8 minutes to cover two blocks ) plus the parking issues (frequently saw our visitor parking spaces used by retail customers) the response that the construction (2 full towers plus office and retail space) will only plan for 362 spaces? no nearly enough.

Also, why allowing 9 story buildings? eye sore in the middle of Downtown. Is that the One Redmond long term plan? changing the city landscape to a series of towers. If that is the case, fully disclosure of the city plans should be disclosed with the residents. We have picked Redmond for a reason, and that may be changing if the city plans keep going in this direction.

Richard Morris said...

Each high rise will have hundreds of parking spaces in the basements every day the renters will move their cars to go off to work . .the narrow streets of redmond will be overwhelmed with these commuters coming from each high rise apartment building the roadways of redmond are very much overwhelmed now with traffic to big employers

Bob Yoder said...

I fear this too. It won't be long before parking and traffic will become a nightmare.

Brent Schmaltz said...

I think traffic and parking already is a nightmare.
Do you know if there is any mitigation to handle the new traffic?
Are there not impact fees for this?

I see bumper to bumper starting from Leary Way.

Richard Morris said...

Impact fees ? I'd guess fees will not slow the city growth . There is only growth in the plan . we now have zoning approval for 9 story high rises . In Bellevue high rise towers have 4, 5, and 6 levels of underground parking. That's a big dig project for sure

Bob Yoder said...

Richard, I've come to the conclusion that "One Redmond" (do you know them?) is not just facilitating growth but they are encouraging and promoting
it. And, that their mission is having a significant impact to the RAPID growth we see in our city.

Richard Morris said...

I think "One Redmond" has taken over the Chamber of Commerce. The members of the Board are pictured on-line at http://www.oneredmond.org/our-services/board-and-investors/
The Mayor and a few council members are shown. For 2 decades the city has planned to build out under the state's Growth Management Act (circa 1990). This state law is designed to "manage" urban sprawl, and protect some rural land from development. The city boundary is more or less fixed, and the city is required to "in fill" development. As such, there are fewer available lots within the city boundary. Economically, builders must build towers these days to utilize the scarce land resources. But in the 2 decades of build out projects, not so much progress in building out city infrastructure. Traffic congestion remains an issue.