Redmond City Council extends Seritage public hearing to August

A public hearing on the large Overlake development has been extended to Aug. 21.

A site map of the proposed Seritage Development in Redmond’s Overlake neighborhood. Courtesy image

A site map of the proposed Seritage Development in Redmond’s Overlake neighborhood. Courtesy image

A public hearing on the large Seritage development in Redmond’s Overlake neighborhood has been extended to August.

The Redmond City Council voted at a July 17 meeting to extend the study session for a second time to Aug. 21. Representatives of the project and city staff gave a recap of the project, which includes tearing down an old Sears building at 2200 148th Ave. NE and replacing it with a mixed-use development. The council could vote to wrap up the public hearing at the August meeting and approve or deny the development.

An application for the project was submitted to the city in 2015 by Seritage Growth Properties. Representatives of the company said at Tuesday’s council meeting that the Redmond location is one of four across the country where they will be constructing a mixed-use development after the company purchased properties from Sears and Kmart three years ago. The on-site Sears auto parts store was scheduled to shut down earlier this month.

If approved, the roughly 14-acre project would be built out in phases and would include 500 apartments and a 210-room hotel. It would additionally include 100,000 square feet of street-level retail space, 23,000 square feet of market and food retail space, 266,800 square feet of office space and nearly 62,000 square feet of restaurant space. Some 2 acres would be dedicated to parks and open spaces and it would include 2,245 underground parking stalls. In total, the project would add 1.05 million square feet of new space.

The first phase of development would create a residential complex to house the apartments, ground floor retail and a separate, smaller retail building. Future phases include a nine-story hotel and office building and two additional office buildings, which would include retail space.

Seritage representatives stated at Tuesday’s meeting that 50 apartments would be marketed at 80 percent of the area’s median income, and another 50 would be marketed at those earning 60 to 80 percent of the area’s median income. City council member Tanika Padhye asked the developers to market the lower-priced apartments toward the lower end of the income spectrum to create more affordable housing options for residents.

Redmond dictates developers must include make at least 10 percent of units affordable under federal standards, which is calculated according to federal requirements. To be considered affordable, a unit’s monthly total cost, including rent and utilities, must be be at or below one-third of the monthly income of a family making 80 percent of the area’s median income. To put this into perspective, a family of four in King County still has to make around $72,000 annually to get into an affordable unit.

For the development, the city is operating under a 2007 supplemental environmental impact study that projected growth through 2030 as part of the city’s growth plan. The plan projected the Overlake neighborhood could accommodate a total of 4.5 million square feet of additional commercial space, and nearly 5,500 housing units before it would need an update. If the Seritage project is built to completion, there would still be room for 3.6 million square feet of commercial space, and space for more than 2,000 housing units. There are anticipated to be 10,440 people living in the neighborhood by 2030.

Public comment on the project included worries that it would add to congestion in the area. City staff identified 17 intersections that would be affected by the project. However, despite an increase in residents, the city’s analysis expects many of these intersections would benefit from public infrastructure improvements Seritage would make. These include building three new roads through the project, widening streets, building bike lanes and making intersection improvements.

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