Wednesday, December 15, 2021

"Osprey" Building Provides Opportunity For Strong Gateway Feature

Design Review Board hasn't approved this project yet (12/16/2021)
The Osprey site is surrounded by fencing. You're looking at the Heron Rookery Park evergreen trees.  They will be obscured by the new building. "Osprey" provides an opportunity for a strong gateway feature from Leary Way to the downtown. 

The proposed project involves the construction of an 88-unit mixed-use multi-family residential development on .62 acres of land.  According to the Design Review video, a 2,500 sf green roof will be installed.

The new 88-unit building is comprised of: 

• Approximately 145,000 total gross square feet; 

• 1,000 square feet of commercial area; and 

• 80 parking stalls accessed from 159th PL NE Site & Background

The site is located in the River Bend Zone near the entrance of downtown Redmond along Leary Way. The property is adjacent to the Heron Rookery park and across the street from  Dudley Carter Park and the Sammamish River Trail.  Adjacent land uses consist of commercial, multi-family, and public park land. The site currently hosts an auto repair shop. (now torn down.)

The River Bend district is one of four distinct mixed-use residential/office districts in the Downtown Neighborhood intended to provide for significant residential growth, as well as opportunities for growth in professional, business, health and personal services. It is intended to be one of the densest employment and residential area in downtown also providing supporting retail, service and entertainment uses. 

Primary streets are intended for active, pedestrian friendly and activating commercial uses. The River Bend zone acts as an entrance to downtown requiring streetscape improvements.  The River Bend zone also preserves the “green gateway” on Leary Way at the south end of Downtown.

The property’s irregular shape and prominent location at the corner of 159th PL NE and Leary Way provide opportunity for a strong gateway feature to the downtown from Leary Way. 

This 88-unit building helps achieve the City’s stated comprehensive plan goals of creating a vibrant urban center downtown capable of accommodating one-third of Redmond’s planned housing growth by 2030. 


With the addition of Osprey and the future Fredrick's site "Heron Canyon" continues to grow.  In 2-3 years, Fredricks Appliances will be torn down for a new 6-story building directly across from Osprey.  A Fredricks salesperson said they'd move to the Willows area or first floor retail. 


I've noticed developers during Design Review like to tie the history of Redmond to their project.  
The Osprey architects wrote:

"The applicant has a solid start in the design concept acknowledging the history of the region’s indigenous populations with its strong roof forms, reminiscent of the Haida house across the street in Dudley Carter Park, the City’s early timber industry with its choice of wood and stone material, and the City’s future as a modern technology hub with the building’s irregular shape and significant glazing."

-- Excerpt from a Design Review Board memo, 12/7/2021  Photos, Yoder

Monday, December 13, 2021

Downtown Eastlink Light Rail Chugging Along

(Looking west on NE 76th Street) 
The downtown Eastlink light rail terminates just shy of 164th Ave NE. 
Once completed from this angle the evergreen trees will be visually "removed." 

 The downtown light rail station is being built over 166th by Redmond Town Center. 
Construction crews are working in the wee hours with detours for two weeks.
Excavation of Redmond Square started 4-5 days ago.  Looking southwest, see the tail end of light rail
 on the left, and some evergreens that will be visually "removed" from this angle.

Completion date:  2024

-- Bob Yoder, 12/13/21  
Photos, Yoder


Superintendent Announces Levy Q&A Sessions


Superintendent Dr. Jon Holmen

"In February 2022, we will be asking our voters to consider three ballot measures to ensure excellence for all of our students. These levies fund student programs and services not covered by the state by providing staffing, academic programs, technology, and safe and healthy school buildings. 

Two replacement levies and one capital construction levy will be on the February 8, 2022 ballot. The Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) levy and a School Technology and Capital Projects Levy both replace levies that expire in 2022 which fund staff, programs, early learning, technology and help ensure our school buildings are safe and maintained. The Building Excellence Capital Levy funds facility construction projects to accommodate our rapid enrollment growth and to continue to provide learning environments that promote excellence for students. 

Throughout the month of January 2022, we will host Town Hall Question & Answer sessions for our community via Teams Live. Watch for the schedule of these events to come out in the Connections newsletter and get posted on the LWSD website. 

If you are part of a community group or organization and would like to have us come to your event to share an informational levy presentation, please follow this link on the website to provide us with the details: Levy Presentation Request - Lake Washington School District ( 

For more information about our upcoming levies, visit: 2022 Levies - Lake Washington School District ("

-- Excerpt from LWPSTA Newsletter, 12/13/2021

Friday, December 10, 2021

Radiate Apartments Unveils Matt Babcock's "Curious?" - Fairfield


"Curious 2020"  Art: Matt Babcock/ Photo: Bob Yoder

"I make public art because public spaces reflect the ways communities and individuals think of themselves in relation to others and to the larger world."

-- Matt Babcock, Seattle-based artist and architect

Updated opinion:  When I saw this orange blob next to Radiant Apartments I was curious so parked to see what it was.  After walking around it multiple times from all angles I decided it was an elephant.  I saw a trunk!  But after looking at this photo I could see it was a bear.  The artwork is close to Bear Creek Parkway.  Does that have any meaning?  

The City is bland.  We need colors to cheer our spirits, and outdoor art to celebrate our cultural diversity.  Many significant downtown projects were recently approved and numerous others are cued up. Is it too late to reward these developers (and taxpayers) with art installations; or incentivize them?  If it is too late, our government has really messed up.  

A few apartment buildings display art in their lobby. Excellent for the tenants; of little value to the neighborhoods.  Winter Lights has wonderful outdoor art but it's temporary.  Marymoor Village is eclectic, but how much is outdoor art, or is architecture their answer?  Overlake??  What a great place to celebrate our cultural diversity. The Downtown Park concrete plaza?  Interactive art?  The 22-acre Nelson Master Plan is a huge opportunity.

We need color and personality in our "villages" and artworks to celebrate our cultural diversity.  

Kudos to Radiant Apartments.   

"Curious" (clip) is located at the entrance to Radiate Apartments on
Bear Creek Trail just west of the Downtown Park. 

-- Bob Yoder12/10/2021

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Anderson, Fields, Stuart Sworn In To City Council


(lr) Melissa Stuart, Steve Fields, Jeralee Anderson
Courtesy of

Redmond, WA – In a ceremony during last night’s Redmond City Council meeting, newly elected Redmond resident Melissa Stuart (Council Position No. 4), along with re-elected residents Steve Fields (Council Position No. 2) and Jeralee Anderson (Council Position No. 6), were officially sworn in. Their terms are effective January 2022 through December 2025.

Melissa Stuart, MNPL, is a non-profit leader working to improve the lives of children, youth, and families.
She’s currently working on behalf of youth at Boys & Girls Clubs of King County. Her past work includes securing affordable access to behavioral healthcare for families at Youth Eastside Services, ensuring educational justice for youth in foster care at Treehouse, and more. Stuart is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, former board member at Zero Waste Washington, and previously served as a Redmond Library Trustee. Melissa grew up on the Kitsap Peninsula. She lives in Redmond’s Overlake neighborhood with her husband and stepson.

Anderson, Fields, Stuart  (click to enlarge)
Steve Fields has lived in Redmond for more than 30 years. He worked across all functions of government in his positions at King County and the City of Seattle in the Executive offices. Fields guided elected officials on policy, budget, and operational improvements. He advised department heads and their staff to help the government perform better. Fields is also a Redmond small business owner with his wife.

Jeralee Anderson is the President/CEO and Co-founder of Greenroads Foundation, a Redmond nonprofit organization focused on sustainability education, performance management, and strategic programming for transportation capital projects. She received her doctorate in sustainability and civil engineering from the University of Washington in 2012 and is a licensed professional engineer. She currently represents the City as an alternate on the Cascade Water Alliance (CWA), and she serves as an Association of Washington Cities (AWC) representative on the State Public Works Board.

"On Deck" Varisha Kahn, Vanessa Kritzer, David Carson
(click to enlarge)

Double click to enlarge 
This is the first time since the start of the pandemic that the entire Council and Mayor
attended an in-person Business meeting in Chambers. 

-- Bob Yoder, 12/8/2021
   Photos, Yoder

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

OPINION: Leah Choi Sworn Into LWSD Board


School Board Director Leah Choi

Leah Choi was sworn in a LWSD Board Director during last night's Regular Board meeting.  It didn't take me long to know how lucky we are.  She stepped right up with terrific questions and novel recommendations on various topics.  One Board member shocked by her alacrity put her on the spot with questions.  The member coined her as precocious.  IMO, one of the reasons Leah got elected was she is Asian and brings diversity to the Board.  District Asians (and other races) for the most part are highly engaged and take education seriously.  All participants on the superintendent selection committee I attended (Staven) were Asian except for me.  

-- Bob Yoder, opinion

Monday, December 6, 2021

AMLI Project Will Tear Down Value Village Mall and Dog Care Store

Value Village Mall: Fed Ex Office, Romos, Fun & Study,
 Kim's Hair and Nails, Costumes
(double click to enlarge)

Costume store (in the mall)
click to enlarge 

Dog DayCare (next to lone tree on the parcel)
click to enlarge 

The AMLI developer is using "a railroad theme" to market his property. (Railroads played a vital role in the development of Redmond. Light rail follows the Central Connector Trail, which followed the downtown railroad line.)

Report and photos, Yoder

Redmond 87 Apartments Will Have Rooftop Amenities

Good Year will be torn down.
Straight ahead see the All Together Center lumber
(double click to enlarge)

Kimmel Athletic Store will be torn down.
(double click to enlarge)
Old Kimmel Athletic Store is presently used by Friends of Youth.
We used to buy lacrosse stuff here.

Redmond 87 Apartments
(click to enlarge)

The new building will include 134 residential units, including 13 affordable units, consisting of studio, one, and two-bedroom floor plans, and approximately 7,900 sf of retail space. [Why not 3BR units for families?]

The project provides community open space in the form of a second story courtyard. The courtyard is complimented by a rooftop lounge, and deck. Both the courtyard and deck will include landscaping, and seating for residents.

-- Report and photos by Yoder, 12/6/2021

Saturday, December 4, 2021

District Goes To New School Board System

The school district is using a new platform (BoardDocs) for providing government information on  School Board activities, their meetings, meeting agendas, the extended agenda, Board videos, and the like.  To shed some light on the platform, below are some helpful links:  

Monthly Regular Board meetings [erratic] are televised on Comcast Channel 26 at 7 p.m.  To get email updates on upcoming school Board meetings:

To find upcoming Board meetings agendas, meeting dates, times and Board videos.  Importantly, meetings are live streamed here:

**Public comments are taken at 7 p.m. Business meetings by phone or in writing to or

Friday, December 3, 2021

Heron Canyon

It's beginning to look a lot like a City! go!
In the photo, you are looking north along 159th Place NE, to where it intersects with the western end of Bear Creek Parkway.  

In the photo, the building on the left is known as Blackbird Apartments.    The one on the right is Heron Flats and LoftsThe Flats and Lofts abut the Heron Rockery.  The building on the right that is just south of the Heron building is known as The Carter on the Park. (named after the wood-carving artist Dudley Carter.)  The building straight-ahead is Radiant Apartments. 

Fredrick Appliance will be torn down in 2-3 years for a 6-story building, enlarging Heron Canyon further.  The new Osprey building will be the southern entrance to Heron Canyon.  

It's my understanding Eric Campbell developed the Heron and Carter buildings.  He was an active member of the LWSD Bond Committee.  With care, he developed Perrigo Heights and other environmentally vulnerable lands.

-- Photo by John Reinke
    Bob Yoder

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Fun Facts On The Microsoft Modernization Project

Some fun facts about the project: (clip)

  • We have completed more than one-third of the geothermal wells for the Thermal Energy Center, with over 48 miles installed thus far – long enough to stretch across all of Rhode Island.
  • The campus underground parking garage is considered one of the largest underground parking structures in the world at 3 million square feet spread over four levels. It’s large enough to fit an estimated 8,000 school buses.
  • Central catering will be connected to every building on campus through a below ground service corridor spanning a mile. They will prepare 4,000 meals each week in the 140,000 square foot back of house area, which is roughly the size of a Costco warehouse.
  • Almost 3 million pounds of concrete and carpet have been recycled so far – the equivalent to the weight of four Boeing 747 jumbo jets.
  • By reusing harvested rainwater in flush fixtures and utilizing low-flow systems, the new campus is projected to save over 5.8 million gallons of water annually, enough to fill nearly 9 Olympic-size swimming pools.
  • The Redmond Technology Station (RTS) Pedestrian Bridge will provide a safe and accessible path across SR 520, connecting East and West campus to each other and the new light rail station. The bridge is 1,100 feet long and will serve thousands of people every day.
  • We recently achieved Salmon-Safe certification, which means the campus is verified for protecting water quality and habitats and limiting the negative impact that Microsoft’s construction has on aquatic species in nearby waters, such as Lake Sammamish. Civil engineering and landscape teams worked together to ensure that only salmon safe management practices will be used on the project, including improving the quality of runoff with a “biopod” treatment system that filters water before it is released to flow downstream.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

OPINION: How Will Lake Washington School District Adapt To Our Rapid Growth?

I've been reporting on Redmond's downtown growth for over a year.  Growth has been massive with still no end in sight. On brief count, 2025 dwelling units are approved for construction in Redmond this year. (This, not counting SE Redmond where schools are planned on a $25 M. parcel and burgeoning Overlake Urban Center.) How can Lake Washington School District adapt to this growth?  Drastic measures may be required. Unfortunately, few of the thousands of new dwelling units are family-friendly 3-BR.  

I'm concerned newly-built schools will require building UP to accommodate this growth. Sad for the disruption to educators and the students; distressing for the community taxpayers.  Also, newly built schools are more expensive since the State doesn't fund new construction.

Below, is a sampling of Redmond's downtown growth:

Does Kirkland have a similar problem?

-- Bob Yoder, 11/30/2021

"Redmond Center" 8-Story Twin Towers To Break Ground Mid-2022

The availability of hundreds of dwelling units, office spaces, and retail businesses so close to a transit center is highly beneficial to a community. This availability promotes the ability to walk to work, the grocery store, and surrounding businesses. The proximity to a transit center assists with the need for less cars, and increased affordability for residents. 

The subject site is approximately 2.3 acres in area. The site itself is bound by NE 85th Street to the north; a 4-story multi-family building and 3-story multi-family complex located to the east; a Metro Park-N-Ride transit center to the south; and a City of Redmond Fire Station to the west. Across NE 85th Street, is both a one and a two-story retail and office [Village Square] building. (The zoning surrounding the site in all directions is "Town Square."

Staff notes that the proposal includes two new visually distinct towers identified as Towers “A” and “B”. These towers will provide new opportunities for housing, but will also include an office component in Tower “B” as well as providing new retail opportunities in Tower “A” to serve both the retail and employment needs for the users of these buildings, but also Redmond residents. The addition of the mid-block pedestrian path will further provide pedestrian oriented movement throughout the area.

Source:  Design Review Board, 2021

Sammamish River Water Trail Kayak Canoe Paddle Board, Redmond To Kenmore


Don't miss the New Year's Day paddle!  Meet at Idylwood Park, 11 a.m. 

-- Mike Hedges

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Buffering Between The "Homeless Hotel" and "Others" In Redmond Isn't Possible

Silver Cloud Inn, Redmond, WA.

On November 23, 2021, Director Carol Helland of Planning and Community Development gave an excellent presentation to Council on the Homeless Hotel "Occupancy Agreement" between Redmond and King County.  

The agreement governs five areas to which the Operator (hotel manager) will give input.

  • Program rules
  • Code of conduct
  • Safety and security
  • Parking management 
  • Community relations plan
CM Carson wanted to make sure Case Managers would be present.  He wanted background checks.  Director Helland said there was something similar to a background check; it sounded more thorough. Carson asked for heightened coordination between Redmond Fire/Police and Bellevue Fire/Police.  It's State law that sex offenders, released criminals, evicted are welcome in "low barrier permanent supportive housing."

Director Helland said not all 144 rooms will be used.  They need to reserve some rooms for repair and remodeling.  Communal kitchenets are planned, though with uncertainty.  

CM Kistler brought up the question of car camping. Director Helland noted there will be a second parking lot for safety.  

CM Anderson noted a need for Human Services and Planning Commission input.  The Planning Commission will present the final ordinance to council.  

Don't quote me, but there's apparently a high demand for homeless hotels in Puget Sound and we have to do our share."  The sad news is buffers and 5-mile separations between "permanent supportive hotels" won't work owing to Redmond's small geographic size.  The Planning Commission's ordinance decision could address this problem.

It's anticipated the Operator will be chosen in February, 2022.

--Bob Yoder, 11/24/2021
  Source:  Facebook LIVE, 7PM Council Business Meeting

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

5-Story Apartment Project Proposed At Kimmel Athletic Supply

What is your Vision for 2050? Does this project satisfy your dreams?

The "Redmond 87" project
 (video) proposes one five-story mixed-use building of 177,454 square feet with one level of below grade parking on the site.  The project is in the pre-application phase.

The building will include 134 residential units, including 13 affordable units, consisting of studio, one, and two-bedroom floor plans, and approximately 7,900 sf of retail space. [Why not 3BR units for families?]

The project provides community open space in the form of a second story courtyard. The courtyard is complimented by a rooftop lounge, and deck. Both the courtyard and deck will include landscaping, and seating for residents.

The location is:  16101 NE 87th Street.  About a 10 minute walk to the Redmond Transit Station.

The flat, rectangular parcel currently has a single one-story building which is home to a Goodyear Auto Service, as well as the old Kimmel Athletic Supply that is currently hosting the Friends of Youth as a temporary tenant. The site is neighbored by the Bella Bottega shopping center to the north, a three-story office building to the south, the proposed redeveloped Together Center to the east, and Modera Apartments to the west.

-- Bob Yoder, 11/23/2021, Source: Design Review Board memo