Seattle Living

Best Pocket Neighborhoods: Lake Hills

By Sheila Mickool April 1, 2017


This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Wes Jones, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty in Bellevue, lived in Lake Hills for eight years—and he may be the neighborhood’s number-one fan. “If you have any preconceived notions about Lake Hills, throw those out the window,” he says. “The area has changed so much in the last two years, it is no longer the sleepy community it once was.”





                                                                                                          Photo by Michael Walmsley
During the summer season, local produce is available at the Lake Hills Farm Fresh stand

A recent big change is the redevelopment of the Lake Hills Shopping Center—renamed Lake Hills Village—as a mixed-use, community-focused project with retail and office space and residential units. The new center, which is a hub for the area, includes Overlake urgent and primary care units; a new library; restaurants that include Green Leaf Vietnamese Restaurant and Hardwok Café; and services such as Wagly Pet Campus, Silhouette Organic Beauty Lounge and Defensive Driving School.

Photo by Michael Walmsley
See what grows well at the Urban Demonstration Garden

Lake Hills, developed in the 1950s, is considered one of the first master planned communities in the state, Jones says, with the original mid-century modern homes here built to provide affordable housing for Boeing engineers. 

Today, the neighborhood boasts a location that makes it convenient to downtown Bellevue, Redmond’s Microsoft campus and points beyond via easy access to both State Route 520 and Interstate 90, notes Jones, and is attracting young families and professionals.

Lake Hills residents have easy access to nature via the Lake Hills Greenbelt trail, which weaves through the neighborhood, encompassing 127 acres of trails and wetlands. The park has its own ranger station on SE 16th Street with a large Urban Demonstration Garden immediately adjacent. The Lake Hills Farm Fresh Produce stand (156th Avenue SE and SE 16th Street) and the Larsen Lake Blueberry Farm (700 148th Ave. SE) stand in homage to the heritage of the Yakama Indians and Asian-Americans who farmed the land. 
“The neighborhood is friendly,” says Jones. “It’s a place where you can get to know your neighbors and say ‘hi’ when you are out for a walk.”

Photo by Michael Walmsley
A runner on the Lake Hills Greenbelt trail

Photo by Michael Walmsley
An updated mid-century-style home, common in the area

Snapshot: Lake Hills

Location: Bellevue, around Lake Hills Village, 156th Avenue SE and Lake Hills Boulevard
Average home price: $637,100
Appreciation: 18 percent
Walkability: 49/100
School and score: Lake Hills Elementary School (4/10), Phantom Lake Elementary School (8/10); Odle Middle School (10/10), Tillicum Middle School (9/10); Sammamish High School (6/10)
Public transportation: Metro bus No. 226 is a major route in the neighborhood: It runs on 148th Avenue SE and 156th Avenue SE and connects residents to the Bellevue Transit Center and Eastgate Park and Ride. 

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