By Miki Mullor
- STCA LLC, the largest landowner in the Town Center, files its first permit application
- The development site is between SE 4th and the Lower Commons park
- City Manager recently said the development will likely fail the current concurrency
- Valderrama advocates for STCA to relax concurrency
Largest development project in Sammamish
STCA LLC, headed by Matt Samwick, filed its first building permit application on April 4. The Sammamish Comment obtained the application materials with a Public Records Request.
This development is by far the largest development project ever built in Sammamish.
The building site of 13.5 acres is located south of SE 4th St. and borders the Lower Commons Park. It will include 414 townhomes and apartments, 10 single family homes and 82,000 SF of commercial space. Of the total 424 dwelling units, 81 units will be affordable housing.
Details of the blocks enumerated in the diagram above are:
- Block 1 – 10 single family homes (6,318 sf lots), 33 townhomes (3-4 stories)
- Block 2 – 33 townhomes, 4 stories
- Block 3 – 24 townhomes, 4 stories
- Block 4 – 24 townhomes, 4 stories
- Block 5 – 160 apartments, 6 stories, 14,000 sf retail, 8,000 sf restaurants
- Block 6 – 140 apartments, 6 stories, 12,000 sf retail, 8,000 sf restaurants
- Block 7 – 30,000 sf retail anchor, 10,000 sf restaurants, 240 underground parking spaces
In total, 424 homes and 82,000 sf of commercial.
For comparison, Met Market store size is 35,000 sf. The entire “Sammamish Village” commercial area (Tanoor, offices, Met Market) is 111,000 sf.
Phase I in context
This project is Phase I of STCA’s plans for the Town Center sub area. The map below, taken from the City’s Town Center plan, depicts where STCA 13.5 acres Phase I is located in context to the rest of the Town Center. In total, STCA owns 77 acres in the Town Center area..
Net new growth – not “absorbed” growth
Town Center Phase I density is about 40 dwelling units per acre, which is the high-end of the 16-40 Dwelling Units per acre allowed by code in that area.
(For comparison, Klahanie has 3,200 homes on 884 acres, an average of 3.2 homes per acre).
Looking at the developer’s density calculation, what stands out is the zero use of “City of Sammamish TDR program.”
TDRs – Transfer Development Rights – are the mechanism to reduce sprawl by sending growth from parts of the city into the Town Center:
Indeed, over the years and recently, local politicians justified the Town Center high density with the argument that it will protect the environment in other parts of the city, by “focusing” development in the Town Center.
Indeed, STCA could not and have not “absorbed” any growth in its Phase I application, contradicting Stuart and Ritchie’s “save the environment” argument.
Concurrency in the way
The Comment previously reported that on February 19, Interim City Manager Larry Patterson told the City Council that staff is looking for small improvements project on Sahalee Way so the Town Center Phase I and other small development projects can pass the current concurrency.
These proposed fixes include:
- Remove 42nd barrier
- Build strategic bus pullouts along 228th
- Build a turn pocket at 37th
- Build strategic extensions to 227th
- Improve the 228th corridor
- Add median barrier from 12th to 42nd
- Build climbing lane on Sahalee Way
It is not yet known whether those fixes will make a difference for concurrency. Until then, Town Center Phase I cannot move forward.
Valderrama advocates for STCA
STCA, the Town Center developer, has been actively trying to convince the public to relax concurrency, so to allow more development and let Town Center Phase I go through.
Below is an email from Kevin Jones, STCA’s traffic engineer, that was sent to City Council, arguing the adopted concurrency is flawed.
Council Member Ramiro Valderrama has been forwarding this email to residents as part of his efforts to relax concurrency.
Valderrama takes the position of the developer’s engineer, lending it credibility by arguing that the City or of any of its consultants had not “challenged” the developer’s assertions.
The letter was presented as a public comment. Public comments are not normally challenged by the City.