Published November 22 2023
Plus, commendation for city manager
The City Council Monday expressed support for extending a development agreement with Wright Runstad & Company that authorizes the continued development of the Spring District catalyst project in BelRed.
In 2009, the city adopted a subarea plan and land use code amendments for BelRed intended to facilitate transformation of the underutilized industrial area northeast of downtown into a collection of transit-oriented neighborhoods built around two light-rail stations.
That same year, the city signed a 15-year developer agreement with Wright Runstad, which provided the developer with discounts on fee-in-lieu rates (development fees) and other incentives in exchange for the construction of developer-funded infrastructure, including parks and streets, in the new Spring District neighborhood. It is Bellevue’s only catalyst project, intended to spur other development in the area.
Today, the Spring District, on the west side of BelRed, features apartments, mid-rise office buildings, public recreation space and new streets. With 19 of 27 parcels developed, Wright Runstad approached the city this year about extending the development agreement through 2037.
Amendments to the development agreement negotiated with Wright Runstad over the course of two council study sessions include an increase to fee-in-lieu rates paid by Wright Runstad, beginning in 2027, with another rate increase starting in 2031. The city may apply that revenue toward construction of affordable housing.
The council directed staff to prepare an ordinance approving the amended development agreement, for potential council action on Dec. 11 in connection with a public hearing and potential adoption of a related land use code amendment. Complete details about the catalyst project are in the council materials.
Commendation for city manager
The council issued a commendation for City Manager Brad Miyake, who retires Thursday, Nov. 30, after managing the city for 10 years. Miyake has worked at the city for 33 years in various leadership positions. In a presentation that was emotional at times, the council members took turns reading segments of the commendation.
Under Miyake’s leadership, “The city has worked to implement proactive growth policies, guided the implementation of light rail through Bellevue, improved the city’s multimodal transportation system, developed an affordable housing strategy and fostered a business-friendly reputation,” read one council member.
“His tireless efforts have fostered a vibrant and inclusive environment for all, and his calm demeanor, caring leadership and contributions to a positive workplace culture will be dearly missed,” read another. “Brad’s dedication to public service has helped make Bellevue the community it is today.”
Small Business Saturday
The council also proclaimed the Saturday after Thanksgiving as Small Business Saturday. Small businesses with fewer than 100 employees comprise 97% of firms in Bellevue.
Through Startup 425, the city provides free one-on-one businesses advising, education and networking and other services to local small businesses. In the proclamation, the council encourages people to shop at Bellevue’s small businesses, online or in-person, Saturday.