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Originally published April 28, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified April 28, 2007 at 2:00 AM

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Neighborhood of the week

From farms to Microsoft, Overlake still family friendly

Thirty years ago when Lou Lovelace moved into the Overlake area, the neighborhood consisted mostly of small farms, big properties, a few...

Special to The Seattle Times

Overlake (Redmond)


Population: 8,524 (2006 est.)

Distance to downtown Seattle: Approximately 13.5 miles

Schools: Redmond is served primarily by the Lake Washington School District.

Facts: In May 2005, the city of Redmond approved Microsoft's 20-year campus-development agreement. The agreement allows a total build-out on the Main and West campuses of 2.2 million square feet of new building space, the equivalent of two 76-story Columbia Center towers. Microsoft will spend $1 billion over the next three years on campus-expansion projects. One feature on the Microsoft Campus is "Lake Bill" between Buildings 1, 2, 3, and 4. A snow geese, goldfish and rooster habitat, this is also the site of boss-dunkings, Ballmer swims and juggling practice.

— Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf

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Thirty years ago when Lou Lovelace moved into the Overlake area, the neighborhood consisted mostly of small farms, big properties, a few mom-and-pop shops, chicken-wire fences and lots of open space.

Driving along Highway 520 through the commercial and industrial heart of Overlake now decked by big, old homes and new apartments and condos, it is plain that a lot has changed since the farmers left and Microsoft moved in.

But one thing has remained the same, Lovelace said: Overlake is still a great place to live.

"If it weren't, I wouldn't have stayed here for 30 years," Lovelace said. "It is the kind of place you move to raise your kids and then stay in to see your grandkids visit. Everything you need is right here. I really like the convenience of having services, shopping, grocery stores, entertainment and everything close at hand."

Officially, Overlake is a Redmond neighborhood bounded on the west by 148th Avenue Northeast, on the north by Northeast 60th Street and Highway 520, and on the east by West Lake Sammamish Parkway Northeast and Northeast Bellevue-Redmond Road.

The neighborhood boundary then runs west following the southern city limits line, which is just south of Northeast 20th Street.

But many living, working and setting up shop just west in Bellevue also consider their neighborhood Overlake.

Overlake (Redmond)


Population: 8,524 (2006 est.)

Distance to downtown Seattle: Approximately 13.5 miles

Schools: Redmond is served primarily by the Lake Washington School District.

Facts: In May 2005, the city of Redmond approved Microsoft's 20-year campus-development agreement. The agreement allows a total build-out on the Main and West campuses of 2.2 million square feet of new building space, the equivalent of two 76-story Columbia Center towers. Microsoft will spend $1 billion over the next three years on campus-expansion projects. One feature on the Microsoft Campus is "Lake Bill" between Buildings 1, 2, 3, and 4. A snow geese, goldfish and rooster habitat, this is also the site of boss-dunkings, Ballmer swims and juggling practice.

— Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf

References to Overlake can be found throughout Bellevue from the Overlake Park and Ride just down the road from Bellevue's Interlake High School to Overlake Hospital Medical Center sitting in the heart of Bellevue near Interstate 405.

In fact, in 1950 the Overlake School District changed its name to Bellevue School District and Overlake High School's name changed to Bellevue High.

Overlake is far from a bedroom community as residents can and do live and work in the area with large companies from Nintendo to Group Health and Microsoft in the area, said Lori Peckol, Redmond city planner.

"Overlake is a very attractive area with a lot of great amenities. There are beautiful views from many of the homes, great mature trees, lots of parks and shops. Its diversity of shops and services so close to residential areas is one of its distinguishing features," Peckol said.

The typical price for a single-family home around 1,800 square feet is $505,975, according to Windermere Real Estate agent Kathleen Bacon. Taking a recent glance at homes on the market, Bacon said the lowest price for a single-family home was $393,000 and the highest $725,000; the lowest price for a condo was about $185,000 and the highest $419,000.

"From the things that people tend to look for in real estate like location, services, closeness to shops and entertainment, parks, great schools, good job opportunities, it's all there for you in Overlake," said Bacon, daughter of Lovelace. "There are a lot of community parks, lots of sidewalks and bike paths and everyone cares about safety and there's a real community feeling in all the neighborhoods."

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