The City of Sammamish has long dealt with slow economic growth and ever-worsening traffic. However, a recent venture between Innovation Realty Partners and Pillar Properties aims to bring more jobs to the city and keep more vehicles off roadways.
The City of Sammamish occupies a plateau that shares borders with Issaquah, Bellevue, and Redmond, and has long been seen as a Seattle Metro Area bedroom community. Approximately 21,900 out of the 61,000 people living in Sammamish work in the area, while more than 70 percent of people commute outside of the city for employment, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
With roughly one-third of its population leaving the city each day and with one of the lowest jobs-to-housing ratios in the region — approximately .4 jobs available for every Sammamish home, according to the Puget Sound Regional Council — the city is in need of more jobs.
The partnership between Innovation Realty Partners and Pillar Properties will be the first phase of the long-awaited Sammamish Town Center and is projected to provide an array of multi-family housing options, retail and commercial space, parks, and other open spaces. Additionally, the center also could provide improvements to transit and roadway infrastructure.
The project was stalled for several years after the city’s worsening traffic became so troublesome that a citywide emergency moratorium was enacted in October 2017. This moratorium was lifted last September.
Construction has not begun on the project and a completion date has not been set.
Sammamish Town Center is roughly bounded on the north by East Main Street, on south by SE 8th Street, on the east by 233rd Avenue and on the west by 222nd Street.
Once construction on the center begins, it will mean significant growth, not only for the city, but for the two companies, according to Matthew Samwick, operating manager of Innovation Realty Partners.
“We were contacted by multiple builders and operators that wanted to come to Sammamish, but we chose to work with the best in the business,” Samwick said. “We could not ask for a better partner than Pillar Properties. They are a leader in developing modern, energetic, and highly sought-after town centers that include senior housing communities.”
For design of the center, Sammamish is not one to forget its Pacific Northwest roots. By incorporating “site sensitive designs to protect surrounding natural areas, and incorporate significant new open spaces to connect the Town Center to the existing trails and recreational opportunities in the Sammamish Commons,” the center strives to protect the jewels of the region.
The center also will incorporate regional stormwater management, parking solutions, pedestrian-friendly street networks, and low-impact development techniques.
Deb Sogge, executive director of the Sammamish Chamber of Commerce, agrees the center will bolster economic growth for small businesses.
“The Sammamish Town Center will become an excellent location for small to midsize companies that want office space on the Eastside but don’t want to be in downtown Bellevue,” Sogge said. “The amenities of a mixed-use development, the proximity to Microsoft and other tech companies, and the ability to tap into a skilled workforce makes the Sammamish Town Center very attractive.”
In addition to the partnership between Innovation Realty Partners and Pillar Properties, the parties also will own and develop a campus of senior living apartments with Pillar’s sister company, Merrill Gardens, to be completed in a subsequent phase of construction.
Within the past four years, Innovation Realty has expanded to become the largest private property owner in Sammamish.