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City and Capstone to host public meeting Dec. 4 on Overlake Village park

Members of the Redmond community will soon be able to share their thoughts on a new urban park that will be constructed in Overlake.

Capstone Partners — the Seattle-based development firm tasked with developing the old Group Health Cooperative site at 2464 152nd Ave. N.E. within Overlake Village — and the City of Redmond will host a public meeting next week to develop and discuss conceptual designs for the park, a key component of the proposed development. The meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Dec. 4 at City Hall.

AN ATYPICAL LANDSCAPE

At the meeting, Mike Hubbard, a partner at Capstone and head of the project, said they will be explaining to the community where the park will be and what they will be working with as it is not a typical park landscape.

“This is not a flat park in the middle of downtown Redmond,” he said. “It’s a park on the side of a hill.”

That hill rises about 60 feet in elevation from one end of the park to the other.

Hubbard said they will be starting pretty much from scratch at next week’s meeting as they do not plan to have any sort of sketches or potential plans for the park aside from explanations of the landscape and what can and cannot be done. Attendees are invited to bring forth any and all ideas to let Capstone know what they would like to see in the park.

“The goal of the next meeting is to begin a discussion with members of the community about the future vision for the park,” said project manager Dennis Lisk with the City of Redmond, “including the type of activities that would occur there and the key features that people would like to see included in this urban park.”

Following the meeting, Capstone will develop design options for the park site and will share their concepts at a public meeting tentatively slated for early January 2014. In late January, Capstone will present a preferred option to the community for feedback before creating plans for city approval.

Details on the 2014 meeting schedule will be available in December. For more information, visit www.redmond.gov/overlake or contact Lisk at (425) 556-2471.

IT’S ALL RELATED

An initial meeting was held earlier this month with Capstone, the Redmond Design Review Board and Redmond’s Parks and Trails Commission.

Hubbard said the meeting had both groups at the table because the park’s design would be so closely tied to the development of the rest of the project. He added that this was also why Capstone is developing the park, rather than the city.

“It’s really because (the park and the rest of the development) are so connected,” Hubbard said about Capstone taking on the park, which will be a 2.7-acre, triangular park with two sides facing the streets and one side adjacent to planned office buildings.

Lisk added that in the original plan — as part of the development agreement for the Group Health Master Plan — there were provisions for the developer to pay about $2.4 million in fees to fund the design and construction of the park. He said when the development agreement and master plan were approved, it was assumed that the park would be publicly owned and that the city would be undertaking a master plan for the park along with its eventual construction.

“Once Capstone Partners purchased the property from Group Health and began to look at developing the site, they realized that developing the park sooner would provide an immediate tangible amenity for the people living and working on the site,” Lisk said. “It also became clear that, based on the first phases of development that Capstone anticipated for the project and the adjacent construction of roads and other infrastructure they would be taking on, that it made sense for the park to be constructed at roughly the same time.”

A MINIMIZED ROLE FOR THE CITY

He added that the complexity of developing the site became more apparent as the park’s construction is “integral to the construction of an underground parking lot, roads and other site infrastructure.” It was more advantageous to have the developer design and construct the park, he said.

“The city’s role in the development of the park will be to assist Capstone in the design and planning for the park and to facilitate the public’s participation in this process,” Lisk said.

In addition to developing and constructing the park, Capstone will also be maintaining the park, which Lisk said the city prefers as the park will be partially built over the parking structure and integrated to other on-site infrastructure systems. While the firm will be maintaining the park, he said the city will generally be handling programming and rentals, as it does with all other parks in Redmond, adding that the city and park owner will develop terms to address programming procedures and approvals after they understand the types of programs that will work with the park.

THE GOOD AND BAD OF PROGRESS

The mixed-use development within Overlake Village is part the city’s effort to develop two urban centers within Redmond — Overlake and downtown.

During the planning process, the site became a controversial subject after Redmond City Council approved plans to cut down the 1,050 “significant” trees located on the site. As reported earlier, Sustainable Redmond — a grassroots organization with a mission to be a catalyst for moving Redmond’s citizens, businesses and local government toward sustainability — took the city to court and the issue ended in a settlement agreement.

With a developer on board now, progress on the project continues.

John Mun, who owns Sapporo Teriyaki in a strip mall next to the development, said the project should give the area and its businesses a boost as more people will be drawn to the area.

“I think it’s a good thing,” he said, though he admitted traffic will probably become a problem. “You don’t have much choice for that kind of stuff.”

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