North Bend approves clearing for new apartments, affordable housing

North Bend has issued a clearing and grading permit for the new River Run Apartments project, with site work expected to begin on the 6-acre property this week.

The proposed 128-unit multi-family apartment complex, located on the corner of 436th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 136th Street, east of downtown, would feature 11 housing buildings, an office building and a pool.

Danna McCall, a city spokesperson, said construction of the apartments is expected to begin in June. Construction of a developer-funded roundabout at the intersection is also expected later this year.

An estimated 28 of the new units would be designated as affordable housing, for those making less than 80% of the King County Area Median Income (AMI). According to the King County Regional Housing Authority, North Bend had just 20 income-restricted housing units in 2019.

The issued permit comes after some delays on the project. The owners of the three parcels that make up the River Run property originally submitted an application for its development in 2016, with a site plan approved in 2017.

In 2019, the city entered into a pre-development agreement, agreeing to some code changes to allow for higher building density and other changes, and were about to clear the property. However, property owners delayed the project, citing concerns about doing construction during the winter, and it was never picked up.

In June 2021, the city notified the property owners that the engineering review was complete and only administrative items and a pre-construction meeting were needed before a clearing and grading permit could be issued. McCall said the project was sold to a new owner this year, who has since resumed the project.

“At one point we were days from clearing it, and we’re glad that didn’t happen,” said Jamie Burrell, a senior planner for the city, at an October 2021 meeting. “We really want to see this project happen.”