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Spring District faces multiple appeals

These office buildings will serve as the gateway to the first phase of the Spring District. - Courtesy Photo
These office buildings will serve as the gateway to the first phase of the Spring District.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

The Spring District may be Bellevue’s next big development, but not everyone is on board.

The mixed-use project in the Bel-Red corridor will go in front of the city’s Hearing Examiner next month to hear appeals from a number of parties.

When Wright Runstad, the company behind the office and retail development, submitted paperwork earlier this year, it ran into three different appeals. These appeals, which came from Kemper Development Company, Woosley Properties and Brian Derdowski, a resident of the nearby Lake Bellevue neighborhood, allege that the city did not scrutinize the project as much as it should have during environmental review periods. More analysis of traffic impact from the development as a whole, rather than the individual buildings, is needed, the appellants argue.

“It is important to understand that (Kemper Development) does not see the Spring District project as competition,” according to Kemper’s complaint. “However, the traffic impacts of the development … if not mitigated by traffic improvements can have significant adverse impacts on the city.”

Wright Runstad President Greg Johnson said the company complied with all of the city’s land use and zoning ordinance when it applied for a master development plan, an extra step because of the size of the development.

“I’m not sure what more we would need to do at this stage,” Johnson said. “Each building that we do is going to be subject to additional reviews that would also include traffic.”

The Hearing Examiner process, which resembles a municipal version of a trial, will begin Sept. 5, said city spokesman David Grant. The process could last as long as eight days, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the City Council Chambers.

Johnson said the appeal will not slow down the project. Wright Runstad recently submitted design review paperwork for two of the development’s buildings.

The buildings, located at 1227 124th Ave. NE, are to be the gateway into the 36-acre development, according to project documents.

The buildings will be 11- and 9-story office towers, with a total square footage of approximately 476,000, excluding the parking areas. There will be 5 levels of underground parking with approximately 1,100 parking stalls total.

Johnson said construction will likely start in the second quarter next year. The company is in the market attempting to acquire tenants, but nothing has been signed as of yet.

The project includes demolition of 346,489 square feet of warehouse. The west wall of an existing warehouse will be retained as part of the building for Bellevue Brewing Co.

The construction of the gateway buildings also includes the creation of roads and pedestrian improvements for the first few phases of the project. The infrastructure will be paid for by Wright Runstead, with a goal of creating a visually pleasing, and easily accessible environment for works in the two office towers, Johnson said.

“We’re going to focus on making the ground floors and the sidewalks very pedestrian friendly and then use a lot of glass in the office towers so people are able to have terrific views,” he said.

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