A proposal to redevelop Lake Hills Shopping Center drew widespread support from local community members at a meeting last night. The mall's owner, Cosmos...

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A proposal to redevelop Lake Hills Shopping Center drew widespread support from local community members at a meeting last night.

The mall’s owner, Cosmos Development, presented its plan to update the aging center and build 90 apartments, condominiums or town houses, underground parking, more retail and office space, and a community center. The meeting was before the East Bellevue Community Council.

“Lake Hills used to be a wonderful place to go where we could buy everything we needed,” said Jeff Wilson, a Bellevue resident. “Now it’s virtually deserted and we barely go there.”

In February, Cosmos Development applied to redevelop and rezone the 1960s-era shopping mall. Construction would begin in 2008 if the Bellevue City Council and East Bellevue Community Council sign off on the plan. The center’s zoning does not allow housing, underground parking or multistory retail and office space.

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“The rents are too low, and it’s too hard to reinvest because zoning restricts us so much we can’t make improvements,” said Oscar Del Moro of Cosmos Development.

Lake Hills has been struggling to attract new tenants since QFC and Ace Hardware left in 2001 and 2002, respectively. The City Council approved a redevelopment plan for a 157,000-square-foot office-and-retail complex in 2001, but the East Bellevue Community Council scrapped it amid concerns it would be too large and inappropriate for the area.

Local community groups, city officials and the mall’s owner came up with another proposal that included a community center, underground parking, 80 apartments or condominiums, and office and retail space. The center was supposed to be developed in two phases, with the northern section opening in 2008 and the southern in 2013.

A public hearing is scheduled May 19. The City Council likely will take up the issue in July, and the community council will hold a public hearing in August.

Openings

• The Container Store, a national chain that sells storage and organization products, is opening its first Washington store this fall at Bellevue Square Mall.

The 27,500-square-foot store will be the chain’s second in the Pacific Northwest. The Container Store will open another location in Portland in August.

• Rick Rutherford, a certified public accountant with 15 years’ experience, opened his own practice last month to offer a one-stop shop for financial services. CPApartner, at 16698 N.E. Redmond Way, near Redmond Town Center, offers financial planning, tax-return help, and QuickBooks consulting.

For more information, go to www.cpapartner.com online.

Eastside Business Notes appears every Wednesday in the Eastside edition of the Seattle Times. Kristina Shevory: 206-464-2039 or kshevory@seattletimes.com