Preliminary proposals for Mercer Island’s “Gateway” property

October 29, 2018 | by Erin Sirianni

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Mercer Island’s “Gateway” property site – formerly the location of Tully’s Coffee | Image Credit: City of Mercer Island

Last week, the City of Mercer Island held an open house showcasing the preliminary conceptual proposals from five semi-finalist developers for a commuter parking and mixed-use project in Town Center. We attended the event and were impressed with the vision, collaboration, and hard work put into these proposals by all of the developers. We’re excited about this project for multiple reasons, but especially because it will bring much-needed commuter parking to Mercer Island Town Center, and it may also provide a home for the Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA).

The proposals were submitted in response to the City’s Request for Qualifications (RFQ), issued early last month, toward identifying a developer for “a unique opportunity to create a public-private partnership and develop an integrated gateway connection between the City’s Town Center and the light rail station’s east entrance off 80th Avenue SE (opening in 2023).”

The site for the development is an expanded area of the former location of Tully’s Coffee. Given the exciting and significant possibilities for the location, we’ve borrowed the term “gateway” from the City’s description above for a short and easy description of the project and property. Technically, the City does not yet own the property, but is under contract to purchase it. (You can find more background on the property and the City’s objectives here.)

With the permission of each developer and architect, we are sharing the preliminary designs and a few details below. All proposals include site plans that incorporate MICA, along with at least 100 or more dedicated commuter parking spaces, as well as a provision for affordable housing. Our comments below provide a limited overview of each proposal, and we encourage our readers to read the RFQs (linked below) for a more thorough background on each developer’s qualifications.

The City Council will conduct its review of the semi-finalists in November and expects to select the final development partner at its December 4th council meeting. Once the City has an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement with the preferred developer in place, the formal design process will begin, allowing opportunities for public engagement. Per the RFQ proposals, most developers project that the development will be completed by Fall 2022, in advance of the completion of the Mercer Island Light Rail Station in 2023, when the East Link Light Rail service will begin.

Imagine Housing

Developer: Imagine Housing | Architect: VIA Architecture | Landscape Architect: Lara Norman – Communita / Atelier | General Contractor: W.G. Clark Construction Co.

The preliminary proposal submitted by Imagine Housing is for a five-story development that would include 70 senior affordable workforce housing units (apartments); 30,000 square feet dedicated to MICA; and 200 parking spaces. Imagine Housing is a multi-family developer with a mission to meet the Eastside’s demand for affordable housing and has 14 Eastside communities, including Mercer Island’s Ellsworth House. Imagine Housing’s proposal includes design concepts by VIA Architecture. Via’s project experience includes Mercer Island’s Hadley and Aviara mixed-use apartment developments. Imagine’s Housing’s construction partner is WG Clarke Construction Co., which constructed the Aljoya Mercer Island, a local retirement community.

View Imagine Housing’s RFQ >>

MainStreet Property Group

Developer: MainStreet Property Group | Architect: GGLO Design | General Contractor: GenCap Construction Corp.

The preliminary proposal submitted by Mainstreet Property Group is for a 5-story development that would include 120 apartments, 23,000 square feet dedicated to MICA, and 190 parking spaces. Kelly Price, who is President of MainStreet Property Group as well as CEO of GenCap Construction Corp., grew up on Mercer Island and graduated from Mercer Island High School Class of 1987.

View MainStreet Property Group’s RFQ >>

Rêve Development

Developer: Rêve Development | Architect: SKL Architects | Landscape Architect: Murase Associate | General Contractor: Swinerton Builders

The preliminary proposal submitted by Rêve Development is for a six-story development that would include 72 condos; 16,000 square feet of office space; 25,000 square feet dedicated to MICA; and 348 parking spaces (three floors). Rêve Development is a Mercer Island real estate development company; all three principals are Mercer Island residents, including Michael Ross, Robert Spitzer, and Suzanne Zahr, whose Architect-led, Design-Build practice is located in Mercer Island’s Town Center. Rêve Development’s design team will be led by Sundberg Kennedy Ly-Au Young Architects.

View Reve Development’s RFQ >>

Shelter Holdings | Weinstein A + U

Developer: Shelter Holdings | Architect: Weinstein A + U | Landscape Architect: Swift Company | | Construction Team: Shelter Holdings

The preliminary proposal submitted by Shelter Holdings and Weinstein A + U is for a five-story development that would include 120 apartments or condos; 30,000 square feet dedicated to MICA; and 320 parking spaces (3 floors). Local project experience includes the Mercer Island Boys & Girls Club (PEAK), the Mercerwood Shore Club, and the Stroum Jewish Community Center’s Auditorium.

View Shelter Holdings | Weinstein A + U’s RFQ >>

Stream Real Estate

Developer: Stream Real Estate | Architect & Landscape Architect: Hewitt | General Contractor: Compass Construction

The preliminary proposal submitted by Stream Real Estate is for a five-story development that would include a 104-room boutique inn; 60 units of workforce housing; and over 15,000 square feet dedicated to the Mercer Island Center for the Arts. Tom Lindquist, one of the three development partners, is a Mercer Island resident. Stream has also assembled a community advisory board of several Mercer Island residents. Stream’s architect partner Hewitt designed the architecture Mercer Island’s future East Link Light Rail Station, which is currently in progress.

View Stream Real Estate’s RFQ >>

Did you attend the open house? Have you reviewed the designs and RFQs? What are your thoughts? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.