Ask many Snoqualmie (specifically Snoqualmie Ridge) residents where they do their shopping and a common answer is Issaquah. For those committed to driving to Issaquah for their grocery and retail needs, it looks like another option is heading your way. And it appears the newest Issaquah shopping option will be the closest yet to Snoqualmie.
According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Regency Centers, a Florida-based shopping center developer, announced it will break ground on a new, large shopping center in the Issaquah Highlands this week.
Jacksonville-based Regency Centers owns almost 400 shopping centers across the country, which includes the Sammamish Plateau shopping centers of Pine Lake Village and Sammamish Highlands.
The Grand Ridge Plaza, a 280,000 square foot, open-air shopping center will be anchored by a 44,000 square foot Safeway store and a 12-screen Regal Cinemas complex. Originally, the movie theater complex was to open in May 2011, but those plans had remained stalled until now. Seattle’s Fuller Sears Architects designed the new shopping center that will sit on nearly 25 acres in the Highlands.
The deal to sell land on NE Park Drive and NE High Street to Regency Centers for the shopping center was announced last summer by Issaquah Highlands developer, Port Blakely Communities. There have been retail development plans for this land parcel in the past, including a high-end retail development called The High Streets. Developers then scaled back the upscale plans due to the recession, deciding to focus on neighborhood needs instead.
In a statement Regency Centers’ Senior Vice President, Craig Ramey said, “Grand Ridge Plaza is one of the last infill development sites in the area and will benefit from limited competition due to high barriers to entry.”
“High barriers to entry” might apply to surrounding Issaquah communities, but for many driving from Snoqualmie to Issaquah for their shopping needs, the Issaquah Highlands location might be the closer and easier shopping (and movie theater) option, especially when it comes to congested traffic surrounding other Issaquah retail areas. Only time will tell.