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Hillside project will include park, trail

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter A new development that has received preliminary approval would be constructed on the right side of this road in the 2800 block of 84th Avenue S.E. with existing homes on the left. -
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter A new development that has received preliminary approval would be constructed on the right side of this road in the 2800 block of 84th Avenue S.E. with existing homes on the left.
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The owner of a piece of property adjacent to the Town Center wants to build three, small single-family homes and a city park that overlook Luther Burbank Park, Meydenbauer Bay and the Cascade Mountains.

Plans to develop the two-thirds of an acre lot, which is located above the I-90 right-of-way, just east of the corner of S.E. 28th Street and 80th Avenue S.E., have preliminary approval from the city.

As part of the deal, developer Steven Choe offered to construct and donate a city park about 2,500 square feet with a view to the northeast. About 1,911 square feet of the public park would be accessible from a staircase at the far east corner of the property. The developer also plans to build a look-out bench and landscape the park appropriately. The remainder of the space will maintain its current canopy of trees and steep slope.

The plans also show the construction of a private park for the exclusive use of the three home owners.

In letter to the city’s development services group, Choe also suggested connecting the property to the southwest corner of Luther Burbank Park with a trail. The property is separated by the park from I-90 but could get a trail to the path that connects the upper and lower portions of the park.

The proposal includes the removal of 35 trees, with 12 making way for planned street improvements, which include some sewer work and new gutters, curbs and asphalt. In a letter dated March 12, 2007, Choe wrote construction could begin in April and conclude in a year. The total cost of the project is estimated to be about $4.5 million, with $300,00 for site development, $900,000 for land costs and $1.8 million for the construction of the three homes. According to county records, the property was sold to Hongsheng LLC from Choe on March 1 for $1.35 million. Choe bought the property in 2004 for $950,000.

The proposal shows three single-family homes for residents who don’t want the responsibilities of maintaining a large home or extensive property. The project will build “three ‘empty nester’ houses for residents of Mercer Island who want to continue to live on the Island, but do not need the upkeep of a large residence,” the letter reads.

The developer wrote the project would attract such buyers because it is located near the edge of Town Center and situated against the southwest corner of Luther Burbank park.

According to the terms of approval, the city will work with the developer on the new city park’s design. One of the conditions of the approval states Choe “shall coordinate with Parks and Recreation about the design of the proposed public recreation area and improvements, which may be a lookout, landscaping, seating, footpath, stairs and fencing.”

As for naming the new park, city regulations offered Choe the chance to name it after a deceased individual of good character, however, he declined to do so. The city has policies in place to name parks and would begin the process once the development is finalized.

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