Thursday, January 24, 2013

Laurelhurst Community Club's Important Role In The Talaris Re-Development And Be Sure To Attend Open House To Learn More About Future Of Talaris Property

Community Open Houses for the neighborhood to learn more about the future re-development of the Talaris Conference Center (4000 NE 41st Street), the 18 acre property in Laurelhurst, are underway this week.

The neighborhood is invited to attend any of the Open Houses hosted by 4000 Properties LLC through next week to gain more details about their proposed development.

The remaining community open houses, held in the Willows Building, the central building cluster at the Talaris Conference Center, are:
  • January 24th, 3-7pm
  • January 28th, 3-7pm
  • January 31st, 3-7pm

  • Larger neighborhood wide meetings will be held on these dates:
  • February 2nd, 11-2pm
  • February 4th, 3-7pm
  • February 7th, 3-7pm
  • February 9th, 11-2pm

  • Neighbors will be able to view the two options under consideration shown through exhibits, meet with representatives, including the builders, to give input, share concerns, and have questions answered.

    The information is also on the developers new website, Talaris Living, which shows both background on the project and the options under consideration.

    The Laurelhurst Community Club, has been involved with the site once known as Batelle, for over 30 years, in ensuring the property is well integrated with the neighborhood by closely monitoring any proposed development.

     4000 Property LLC of Bellevue, purchased Talaris in 2000 from Era Care Communities for $15,630,000, and it was developed into Talaris Institute which focused on infant and early learning research of the brain.
     Era Care Communities had purchased the property in 1997 from Battelle Memorial Institute for $6,125,000.
    Talaris was sold by the owner earlier this year, and the owner is proposing potential new development for the site.
    The property's zoning is SF 5000, which means single family residential home with a minimum lot size of 5,000 square feet.

    The property was sold with an underlying Settlement Agreement in which Battelle Neighbors and the Laurelhurst Community Club are partnered together with the land owners of the parcel.

    The Settlement Agreement specifically states that major institutions can't operate within this property (no hospitals, colleges, etc)."
    And the Settlement Agreement has specific restrictions attached which specifies the use of the property to protect the quality of life in the adjacent neighborhood.

    LCC has been working with the 4000 Property LLC since mid 2012, and LCC has also drafted another conceptual option with the expertise of a reputable residential architectural firm.

    An LCC Board member told us:
    The option LCC  provided to Talaris is a suggested proposal to encourage Talaris to think outside the box on an alternative for a lower number of single-family lots and preserving more open space in sync with the character of the neighborhood.
    This differs from 90-home maxed out grid that Talaris presented as an only option for single family development, or, their preferred plan , which is a 350- 400 unit apartment option, that requires a rezone.

    LCC has expressed some preliminary priorities to date in working the property owner:
    • Maintain open space, the eagle's habitat and valuable mature trees
    • Support/enhance property values and character of the entire Laurelhurst neighborhood.
    • Provide possible opportunity for development for desirable single family housing, consistent with underlying zoning of the property.
    • Create possible desirable condo attached housing for residents who wish to downsize and stay in the neighborhood.
    •  Minimize traffic impacts on all neighborhood streets and access points.

    LCC also received the following questions from neighbors and has submitted them to the developers, who LCC has told us, have promised to post the answers on their website: 
    • Why must the property be changed? What is wrong with the existing use and lot coverage?
    • Has the owner tried to rent it to another Institute for Advanced Study after selling the Talaris Insitute?
    • What are the next steps in the planning process?
     Financial gain:
    • How much financial profit is the owner seeking by changing the property's composition, and use?
    • Why was the entire single family parcel divided into 90 lots? What is the monetary profit from that parcel lot division?
    • Has the owner considered donating some of the open space for a new neighborhood park?
     Proposed development:
    • What is the height of any new buildings? How far to the edge of existing residents' property will the new development extend?
    • What will be the use of the new buildings - apartments, commercial?
    • How many new square feet of development in contained in this new proposal?
    • What architectural style is planned for these newer high rise buildings?
    • Have the owners considered a plan consistent with the single family zoning that is fewer than 90 units? Or lots with less impact? Or fewer lots with a wetland preserve?
     Traffic and density impact on neighborhood:
    • How much traffic would travel through NE 41st Street? How much vehicular traffic would enter through NE 45th Street?
    • Would the City of Seattle let you build up to 6 stories if you had "inclusive housing units" in the apartment?
    • If apartments were built, how many people would they house? What would be the maximum amount of new residents?
    For more information or to give feedback contact George Thurtle, the lead development consultant, at (206) 713-3355 or
    Here is a Laurelhurst Blog post from last week on this topic.
    (photo courtesy of Talaris Living website)

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