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The Town Center is a 76-acre bowl-shaped area that includes residential, retail, commercial, mixed-use and office-oriented businesses. Historically, convenience businesses -- groceries, drugstores, service stations, dry cleaners, and banks -- have dominated the commercial land uses; many of them belonging to larger regional or national chains. Retailers and other commercial services are scattered throughout the Town Center and are not concentrated in any particular area. With a diffused development pattern, the Town Center is not conducive to “browsing”, making movement around the downtown difficult and inconvenient for pedestrians, physically disadvantaged persons and bicyclists.

Mercer Island’s downtown is located only 3 miles from Seattle and 1 mile from Bellevue via I-90. I-90 currently provides critical vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian access to the Town Center as well as the rest of the Island. Regional transportation plans anticipate future development of a high capacity transit system in the I-90 corridor. In light of recent and potential future public transportation investments in the I-90 corridor and in keeping with the region’s emerging growth philosophy, redevelopment and moderate concentration of future growth into Mercer Island’s Town Center represents the wisest and most efficient use of the transportation infrastructure.

As required by the Growth Management Act of 1990, the Land Use Element presents a practical and balanced set of policies that address current and future land use issues. An inventory of existing land uses (Table 1) and a forecast of future development and population trends (Section III.) provide a backdrop for issues and policies. Subsequent sections IV and V address major land use issues and policies for the Town Center and non-Town Center areas.

Table 1. Town Center Land Uses & Facts Snapshot (May 2015)

Total Land Area

76.5 acres

Total Net Land Area (excludes public right-of-way)

61.1 acres

Total Floor Area (includes all uses)

2,385,723 square feet (20% office, 15% retail, and 65% residential)

Total Floor Area – Ratio

0.90

Total Housing Units

1,532

Total Net Residential Density

25 units/acre (Approx. 75 units/acre on sites with residential uses)

Total Employment

3,9931

Notes: This table includes one mixed-use project currently under construction as of May 2015 (i.e. Hadley).

1This information is provided by the PSRC and is derived from Census data.