Redevelopment begins on Lake Hills Shopping Center; new library planned

The Lake Hills Library will relocate to the new shopping center and occupy the corner at Lake Hills Boulevard and 156th Avenue Southeast. - Courtesy photo
The Lake Hills Library will relocate to the new shopping center and occupy the corner at Lake Hills Boulevard and 156th Avenue Southeast.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

After 10 years of planning, construction on the redevelopment of the Lake Hills Shopping Center has begun.

The redesign of the center will be anchored by the relocation of the Lake Hills Library to the corner of 156th Avenue Southeast and Lake Hills Boulevard, increasing the size of the present building by 10,000 square feet. The cost of the shell of the new Library will be covered by the developer and the cost of the interior will be handled by the library itself.

The shopping center will also encompass 69,200 square feet of retail space, approximately 44,800 square feet of office space and 90 residential units on the 6.7-acre site. The demolishing of the existing five buildings that make up the current shopping center will make way for 14 new ones. Roughly 600 parking spaces will be made available. Phase One is slated to be complete in spring of 2010. If tenant relocation goes smoothly, phase two of the project is estimated to be finished in late summer of 2011.

According to Oscar Del Moro, the senior vice president for Cosmos Development and Administration, the project will create a much-needed community asset and public gathering place.

"This project is something we believe in and have worked hard to get to where we are," Del Moro said. "Even when the bad economy hit we stayed committed along with the library, the neighborhood, and the city. This is a special project and I'm glad to be a part of it."

Del Moro has worked along side Mike Upston, the senior land use planner with Bellevue Planning & Community, to see the redevelopment of the center come to fruition.

Back in 2000, city officials began addressing the need for relativized shopping centers.

The closing of Red Apple and other local businesses earlier this year at the Newport Hills Shopping Center located at 119th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 56th Street brought the issue to the surface. Neighborhoods and city officials have been hard at work, trying to keep afloat the small neighborhood commercial centers treasured by the community.

Newport Hills has no plans to redevelop at this time, but many residents hope to follow in the footsteps of the Lake Hills Shopping Center, Bellevue's first test case for the renewal of neighborhood meeting and retail locations.

The north and west sides of the remodeled shopping center will include nine, two-story, multi-residential units that face inward to a pedestrian and vehicle access way. A residential street will run from 156th around the perimeter to the Lake Hills Boulevard entrance.

Two buildings inside the circle will provide retail shopping on the ground floor facing into the plaza. A third building on the inner circle provides a community and meeting facility. Finally the two main buildings, one next to 156th and the other adjacent to Lake Hills Boulevard, will house retail space on the ground floor that opens to the parking plaza and retail and office space on the second and third floors.

The underground parking facility will house gated parking for the residential units in a separate, secure area.

The official Lake Hills Library and Shopping Center Groundbreaking celebration will take place on Wednesday, May 20 at 1 p.m.

Lindsay Larin can be reached at 425.453.4602.

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