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Originally published December 13, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified December 13, 2007 at 1:33 AM

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Bellevue's 36-acre "urban village" proposal unveiled

A Seattle developer on Wednesday unveiled plans for a 36-acre "urban village" in Bellevue's Bel-Red Corridor that could eventually have...

Seattle Times Eastside bureau

A Seattle developer on Wednesday unveiled plans for a 36-acre "urban village" in Bellevue's Bel-Red Corridor that could eventually have 800 apartments, ground-floor retail, several acres of open space and more than 3 million square feet of office space.

Named the Spring District, the $1.5 billion project would be a centerpiece of the city's revamping of the 900-acre corridor from an aging warehouse center to a tall, dense, mixed-use neighborhood, said Greg Johnson, president of Wright Runstad. The "spring" in the title is meant to indicate a season of transformation, he said.

"We certainly hope this can be the catalyst for the development that happens in the next 50 years in the Bel-Red Corridor," Johnson told 200 people at a Bellevue Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Bellevue Hilton.

Wright Runstad and San Francisco's Shorenstein Properties bought the land for $68 million in May from Safeway, which had long used it as its distribution plant. Both buyers will develop the project.

The land is just east of downtown Bellevue, between 120th and 124th avenues northeast and north of Northeast 12th Street.

The project would include 16 acres of open space, roads and trails, including enough land for a soccer field, a health club and a high-capacity transit station. Most parking would be underground, with a small number of on-street spaces.

Wright Runstad wants the transit station to be for light rail, but after the failure of the Proposition 1 transportation package last month, the company will settle for bus rapid transit in the meantime. The station is designed to be partially underground and would help make the project suitable for the city's vision of transit-oriented development in the corridor, Johnson said.

The company wants to build a first phase on the southern nine acres of the property, with 800 apartments, ground-floor retail and 800,000 square feet of office space. Future phases would focus on office space, Johnson said.

Construction on the first phase could start in early 2009 and finish in 2010. Future phases will depend on the real-estate market, Johnson said.

The company must wait for the Bellevue City Council to make zoning changes next year that would enable the revamping of the 900-acre industrial corridor. The council is considering a plan from a city steering committee that recommends an additional 4.5 million square feet of commercial space and 5,000 housing units over the next 25 years.

Ashley Bach: 206-464-2567 or abach@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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