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Rep. Smith receives Spring District report
Congressman Adam Smith took a brief tour of Bellevue's Spring District on Tuesday, seeking answers as to how the city's most anticipated developing neighborhood will mesh with a maintenance facility in its backyard.
Wright Runstad President Greg Johnson told the 9th District lawmaker convincing developers and tenant companies to get on board with the $2.3 billion Spring District project has been made harder since the Sound Transit Board tapped the former Burlington-Northern Santa Fe site for an operations and maintenance satellite facility in late July.
Smith said the Spring District offers Bellevue an exciting economic opportunity, and he hopes to work with other local leaders to minimize the impact of a maintenance facility in the Bel-Red Corridor.
"Sound Transit coming through is a major opportunity for transit-oriented development, so we hope to do it right," Smith said.Security Properties will begin constructing 300 apartments in mid-October as part of Phase 1 for the Spring District, and will likely use its option for 200 more units a year after that, said Johnson.
A 500,000-square-foot office building and child care center also are planned for Phase 1 construction. Johnson said his company hopes to save Amazon Fresh warehouse space for a market hall, which could be comparable to Seattle's Pike Place or Melrose markets.
But prospective investors are questioning why a 23-acre rail yard would be sited so close to transit-oriented development and East Link's 120th Avenue Northeast station.
"Every single one asks about it," Johnson told the Reporter. "Hopefully our development will show people that it works."
Sound Transit Acting CEO Mike Harbour was also present during Tuesday's Spring District visit, and told the Reporter it was good to hear people's concerns.
His agency brought in the Urban Land Institute to assist with site selection and mitigation planning prior to the transit board's selection of its preferred alternative, Harbour said. Sound Transit is now committed to a stakeholder process that includes the city of Bellevue, with meetings scheduled later this month and in October.
"I think we're trying to be as open as possible and offer as many alternatives as possible," Harbour said.