Bellevue’s Light Rail Tunnel

Bellevue Light Rail Tunnel Video

Construction has been under way for months on the south portal site for the tunnel under downtown Bellevue. Part of the Sound Transit East Link extension, the tunnel will host light rail service in Bellevue and run between the future transit stations at East Main and Downtown Bellevue. What you might not know . . .

  • The tunnel will be approximately one third of a mile long when completed and will run between the East Main and Downtown stations, mostly under 110th Avenue NE
  • Excavation work should be complete in about two years followed by another year of construction to complete the tunnel interior
  • Crews are excavating at the south portal site at 112th Avenue SE and Main Street. Construction is on pace to dig 3 to 4 feet of tunnel a day. The north portal will surface at the light rail station at NE 6th Street near the current Bellevue Transit Center
  • The completed tunnel will be nearly 28 feet tall and run 30-60 feet below ground
  • The budget for the tunnel is $121.4 million
  • Instead of a tunnel boring machine, this tunnel is being built using the sequential excavation method (SEM). SEM uses an excavator and cutting equipment to take out soil. As soil is removed, lattice girders are installed and then pressurized concrete, called shotcrete, is sprayed onto the tunnel sides, ceiling and floor. This method, vs a tunnel boring machine, should minimize disruption to surface streets, homes and businesses.

East Link is scheduled to open in 2023 and is part of the 14 mile, 10 station light rail extension. When open a trip from downtown Seattle to downtown Bellevue will take about 20 minuted. The next extension is scheduled to open the following year linking stations to Redmond.

2023 will be here sooner than we expect. Access to light rail is going to be a game changer downtown, adding appeal, convenience, prestige and value to downtown Bellevue’s business and residential communities.

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Selling in a Hot Market

cleaning

flickr/sgrace

Yes, its a seller’s market, but if you’re planning to sell your home, don’t think you can forego the typical prep work associated with getting your home ready to show to buyers. This is the time of year more homes are listed for sale, and more inventory brings more competition. With more to choose from buyers may not be willing to pay top dollar for a dirty, dated or poorly maintained home.

There are easy, inexpensive tasks a homeowner can complete in a weekend or two that make a big difference.

  • CLEAN (and clean again) – pay special attention to the kitchen and baths.
  • DE-CLUTTER – remove clutter in closets, cabinets, drawers and garages. “Martha Stewart” your house and show off the storage space.
  • PAINT – If a room or hallway is looking tired a fresh coat of paint is inexpensive and makes a big difference.
  • MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION – Curb appeal is huge. The saying “you only get one chance to make a good first impression” is true in any market. Paint the entry door (if the HOA permits), install a new kick plate, toss tired winter plants and put fresh flowers and mulch in entry pots or gardens.
  • LET THE SUN SHINE IN – open window treatments, remove or replace tired drapes or blinds. Clean the windows – maximize your home’s natural light.

Some work will require professional help but its worth the investment. Have the furnace and A/C serviced. If other systems, appliances or fixtures need repair get it scheduled.

Multiple offers are common and many homes are selling quickly and for more than list price, but that doesn’t mean a free pass for neglecting repairs or cleaning. A home should be delivered to the new owner in clean and good condition.

It takes considerable time and energy to get a home ready to sell, but the payoff (return on investment) is worth the effort. I specialize in condos. I know what’s been happening in your neighborhood and your home’s market value. When its time to sell let’s talk . . . I have information and referrals for cleaners, contractors, landscapers, resources for donating or disposal and can help you maximize your return on investment.

Ice Cream Season

ice cream

flickr/gordonramsaysubmissions

The last couple of warm-ish days got me thinking about ice cream. The big news, and I will make a trip to Capital Hill, is Portland’s Salt & Straw ice cream shop opening in the Capital Hill. Downtown Bellevue is missing a signature ice cream shop.

A long time downtown Bellevue resident, I remember the Baskin & Robbins ice cream shop downtown. Along with the Dairy Queen (both have been gone for years) these were the two “go to” stops for ice cream in the summer. Ben & Jerry’s is inside Bellevue Square and there are several places you can find gelatto,  frozen yogurt or a milkshake, no destination ice cream shop in downtown Bellevue anymore.

The weather was great and we spent a lot of time outdoors this weekend walking the dogs and enjoying the colorful blooms downtown. It was fun to sit outside with a cup of coffee but it would have been fabulous to sit outside with a yummy cone of ice cream. I’m looking forward to summer and hopefully the arrival of a pop-up ice cream shop.

New Dining in Downtown Bellevue

flickr/Lohb

Three new eateries recently opened (or reopened)  in downtown Bellevue, the first of many scheduled to open in coming months. Some are new to the area along with a local favorite.

Minamoto Japanese Cuisine opened in March at the Alley 111 Apartments. Minamoto’s menu focuses on Japanese cuisine. Open for lunch and dinner.

Peony Kitchen recently opened on Main Street adding a fresh interpretation of Chinese cuisine to the Old Main Street neighborhood. Peony is located at the Meyden Apartments where there is public garage and street parking available. Open for lunch and dinner.

Wild Ginger, after shuttering the Bravern location earlier this month, Wild Ginger has reopened at Lincoln Square. The new space is smaller and more intimate, but you can expect the same high quality Asian food and extensive wine list.

A long time downtown resident, I’m looking forward to sampling these and other new dining opportunities this summer.

Eastside Condo Market is on Fire

Bellevue skyline from Lake WA #1In the past condo sales and values lagged a bit behind single family homes – not anymore. Eastside condo sales have accelerated in recent months with record attendance at open houses, shorter market time (less than 10 days), multiple offers and sales prices averaging 5% over list prices.

The number of available resale condos downtown is at an all time low. Since the first of the year 59 condos have sold (an average of 20 per month). With just 20 resale condos currently listed for sale, that’s just a one month supply to choose from. There are 20 pending condo sales, so you can easily see the available inventory is being gobbled up as soon as it comes on the market.

Downtown Kirkland is no different  –  since January 1st 54 condos have sold and there are currently only 21 active listings, or a 1.1 month supply of inventory, but with 37 pending sales, those 21 active listings clearly won’t satisfy buyer demand. With the continued hiring pace at Google, new companies moving into the office space at Kirkland Urban in the next 18 months, plus the new retail and dining experience Kirkland Urban will offer, there are a lot of reasons for wanting to be in Kirkland.

If you’re a seller, you’re in the driver’s seat, but you need to be ready to move quickly and have your rental or new purchase lined up for quick occupancy. Investors should seriously think about selling in this market to maximize their return on investment. Buyers . . . there are a lot of cash offers out there, but they don’t always offer the best price or the best terms for sellers. Get your financing together, listen to your Realtor® (if you don’t have a Realtor®, find a good one), be flexible, realistic, creative and patient. Prices aren’t going to go any lower and with 1,000 people a week moving into the Puget Sound region, demand will continue. Now is the time to get your foot in the door of home ownership, move-up for more space or a view or downsize to a lower maintenance lifestyle. Its not a secret anymore . . . this is a great place to live.