North Bend is an evolving and changing small town. Some like it. Some don’t. With land owners seeking to sell property and developers chasing affordable, build-able land to meet Puget Sound housing needs, new developments keep popping up in and around North Bend.
In addition to those new homes, the city core – the historic downtown area – is also slated for some noticeable changes in the next few years, all which could leave things looking a lot different.
1) Downtown Plaza Project
The downtown area in the Main Street and North Bend Way intersection will get a facelift thanks to a $1.3 million Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) grant. The project includes massive sidewalk improvements between Ballarat and Bendigo, new storm drainage collection and conveyance systems, new street furniture and other “great walkability features.” The design also incorporates a decorative river pattern into the concrete.
The Downtown Plaza Project is scheduled to start in 2017.
2) Phoenix Plaza Project
The site of a massive natural gas explosion that leveled a strip mall and barber shop on E. North Bend Way will be rebuilt after sitting vacant for over two years.
The new Phoenix Plaza will be a three-story, residential and commercial mixed use building with a 1,300 square foot leasing office, 3,900 feet of retail space and a parking lot that includes 39 covered parking spots. The second and third floors would have 32 apartments and about 2,000 feet of private open space on the second floor terrace for tenants.
Phoenix Plaza is anticipated to open in 2018. Note: below sketch is conceptual – not final design plan.
3) North Bend Restaurant/Office Space Building
Near Phoenix Plaza and adjacent the North Bend post office, a new 3,6000 building containing a restaurant on the main level and 2,000 feet of office space above is in the early planning stages. The vacant land parcel for the new building is zoned commercial.
The proposed restaurant/office building is estimated to be ready sometime in 2018/2019.
4) Orchard Place Apartments
And finally, across from the new Phoenix Plaza site, John Day Homes is planning a new 41-unit apartment complex project called Orchard Place Apartments. It’s slated for the vacant land parcel at the intersection of Orchard Street, Cedar Falls Way and E. North Bend – adjacent the roundabout. The apartments would occupy seven buildings on the triangle shaped land parcel.
Public comments about the project are due by 4:30PM, October 20th and must be sent to the North Bend Department of Community and Economic Development. Comments can be mailed, personally delivered, or sent by fax, and should be as specific as possible, according to the City’s Notice of Application for the project.
The apartment complex won’t likely be ready until 2019 at the earliest.
Planning for new Development Traffic
Planning for these new developments, each expected to start construction between 2017-2019, also means taking into account additional traffic in the downtown area – an area many residents say is already very congested, especially during peak commute hours..
North Bend Public Works Director Mark Rigos said he isn’t anticipating permanent traffic from these private developments until 2018 at the earliest – and the city is still pursuing funding for a second roundabout at North Bend Way and Park Street to help with traffic flow through the downtown area.
Roundabout designs are about half done according to Rigos – and are expected to be completed next year. This new roundabout is rated extremely high in the city’s six-year Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP).
Rigos said via email that he is optimistic that the city will have sufficient funds to build the estimated $3.5-$4 million roundabout in 2018 or 2019.
Funding sources for the project include Transportation Impact Fees, Puget Sound Regional Council ‘Small City” Grant, Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) Grant, REET funds, Water Fund (as water main replacement is also included in the project), etc.
Rigos said these funds will be “cobbled” together to hopefully move the roundabout forward. North Bend did apply for a $2.9 million PRSC grant this year for the roundabout, but only its Main Street Plaza Project received funding during last year’s PSRC grant awards cycle. [These PSRC grants are what helped fund nearby Snoqualmie’s downtown improvement projects over the past few years.]
Other projects in the works in North Bend: a new right turn only lane coming to Bendigo Blvd at Park Street (right by Bartell’s) in the coming months; a new city hall building in the coming years – to be located on E. North Bend Way alongside city’s the Public Works Facility and the North Bend Fire Station; a new private athletic complex on SR 202 near Encompass; and a new Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites at the corner of Bendigo Blvd and South Fork Ave, which was originally supposed to open in spring 2017, but that project appears to be behind schedule.