City of Redmond, WA

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EDITORIAL:  The "Old Town" Downtown Core needs rehabilitation

2013: The need for higher and better purposes for the Old Town Downtown neighborhood were discussed at a  September city council/mayoral study session.

Leary Way is at the heart of Old Town which is delineated by Cleveland Street, Redmond Way to Gilman and 164th Avenue. Sixteen landmark buildings, 40 years and older, occupy this historic district.     David Scott Meade, Chair of Redmond's Design Review Board, commented on Leary Way at the Council meeting, as follows:
"We are working on new guidelines and standards. I'd like to wrap my arms around the historic district and create an envelope of landscaping, hanging pots, street furniture, paving scapes, and opportunities to promote the businesses and structures that exist here now. I'd like to see a higher and better purposes so we can enjoy them for the next 100 years."  
Miguel Llanos, Landmarks Commissioner said  "There's a Master Plan for the Downtown Park but not for Old Town. Old Town is a vibrant district that uses it's history to make it different from the rest of Redmond and other parts of the Eastside." Miguel ran down a list of Old Town signature historic buildings contributing energy to the downtown core: The Matador, Redmond Sports Bar, Half Price Books, Brown's Garage Liquor Store.

Miguel suggested a guided tour of the vacant second floor of the Pho Restaurant  on Leary- once an historic hotel. "We need to reach out to Old Town tenants and landowners, like the Nelsons", said Miguel, to help rehabilitate the core.  Graffiti is tagged on the metal siding.  The Pho Restaurant building has a new owner and he may be more amenable to removing the metal siding (10/8/13 Council Meeting).   

David Scott Meade agreed that something is needed to be done with the metal siding on the Pho Restaurant and to save, improve, and enhance the Old Town structures, in general. He recommended applying transfer development rights as bargaining chips to trade for improvements. "Incentives are needed now before things change," said Meade, "Leary is the heart of what Redmond is and, as Miguel notes, and we need to be more proactive."

"A Master Plan is needed before Old Town gets overwhelmed," said Llanos.

Bob Yoder

Historic Core Zoning was examined and written-up by the planning commission. Historic buildings on Leary Way will be be "standardized" to give a uniform look and feel. 

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