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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Council Roundup: Health club coming to Kelsey Creek?

Also, funding gap for transportation projects discussed

A health club may soon occupy the former Kmart store at Kelsey Creek Center. A Hearing Examiner recommended approval of the project, which would bring a tenant to a 106,000-square-foot building that has been vacant for more than 10 years.

The council agreed to consider an ordinance on May 16 allowing the property owner to renovate the building for a health club at the shopping center on the corner of 148th Avenue Southeast and Main Street. If the East Bellevue Community Council also approves, architect Group Mackenzie would have the green light to begin work this spring.

Kmart had anchored the Kelsey Creek Center until it left in 2000. Costco leased the property after that but abandoned its plans for a warehouse store in 2008; the building remains vacant and continues to deteriorate.

The property owner, Franklin West LLC, has plans to set up a health club that would occupy about half of the building. Other commercial uses are anticipated in the building, along with construction of two additional buildings. A Key Bank branch is planned for the southeast corner of the intersection, currently occupied by an abandoned Shell gas station.

The site is zoned Community Business, which allows for health clubs. However, Mackenzie had to apply for a conditional-use permit because of a concomitant zoning agreement. Last year the city removed a provision from the zoning agreement requiring the opening or "daylighting" of Kelsey Creek, which runs through the shopping center, in a culvert under the parking lot.

Feedback: Mike Upston, Senior Land Use Planner, 425-452-2970, mupston@bellevuewa.gov

Funding gap for transportation projects discussed
The council discussed major transportation projects intended to accommodate future growth, which currently lack funding. The council members reviewed the status of a couple already started.

The main issue is a $200 million-plus funding gap to pay for projects in the city's Mobility and Infrastructure Initiative. The shortfall is due to several factors, including the economic downtown. 

The initiative is a $299 million package of capital improvements endorsed by the council in 2009. The plan contained more than a dozen high-priority transportation projects and other investments, along with a 10-year finance strategy to pay for them. Revenue sources were expected to include property tax increases, new development impact fees and local improvement districts. 

Among the projects in the initiative are an extension of Northeast Fourth Street, from 116th to 120th Avenue Northeast, and the widening of 120th Avenue, north of Northeast Fourth Street. Design work and land acquisition for those projects is already well under way and will continue, but funding for construction will be the topic of a future council meeting.

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