top of page

Three Stages of the Real Estate Development Process

A Community and Public-Private Collaboration
The development process is focused on taking ideas on paper, and turning them into real property. It's a process that delivers structure for balancing community feedback design and city approvals.  

How did the Town Center become an "idea on paper" for the City of Sammamish?

During the Town Center planning process, the city held more than 30 public meetings, open houses, surveys, design charrettes, and other public input opportunities.

The Town Center public process resulted in a plan that ensures anticipated growth will occur in a way that contributes to the natural character and quality of life in Sammamish. The plan is for the Town Center to absorb a significant portion of the city’s anticipated residential and commercial growth and integrate compatible land uses while minimizing impacts to established neighborhoods. The Town Center Plan was documented, adopted in 2018 and amended in 2020. 

After the City created a plan, then what happens? Can't the City just create the Town Center by itself?

Cities including Sammamish use public-private partnerships to help turn ideas into real property. They work with developers to do this. The developer cannot build things without city approval.

Cities working in public-private partnerships can help alleviate impediments to solving  housing shortages and resolve equity and inclusion issues.

Stage 1 : Acquire Properties, Plan Project & Administrative Work 


The beginning of every project starts with acquiring land, assembling parcels, like those in the Town Center Zone designation area. The sites must have potential to meet the plan requirements. Some of the most important factors that go into determining if the site fits the city's needs are: Property size Visibility Traffic flow Zoning Potential access points Infrastructure  ​When suitable, available sites are found, the developer finds investors and acquires properties. This takes time, patience and trust. For projects like the Sammamish Town Center, more than 90 contiguous acres were acquired with the purpose of implementing the city's town center plan.    Real estate development involves participation from a wide variety of professionals, including: architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, site planners, attorneys, environmental consultants, surveyors, title companies, lenders, architects, general contractors, and subcontractors, amongst a variety of others. Pre-development is the first stage a team takes to determine if available properties / sites within the project, like the Town Center Zone designation area, meet the City's plan requirements.

Assemble Project Team and Conduct Feasibility 

Conducting a feasibility helps the team identify what needs to be done in order to meet all city requirements. These include: Parcel Land Use and Zoning Engineering Building Permits Fire Department Requirements Building Setbacks Parking Requirements Landscape Requirements Lighting Ordinance Signage Requirements Access and DOT requirements Off-site/Public Improvements SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act) Utilities - Water - Sewer - Storm Drainage - Power - Gas - Phone/Cable

Government / Municipality Submittal and Review
In order for projects to become a reality, they must first get the approval from appropriate government and municipal entities. Learn more about what has already been submitted for the Sammamish Town Center.
Zoning Review

Zoning review is meant to ensure the compliance with standards and provisions set by each municipality, while encouraging quality development. It’s intended to encourage the most appropriate use of the land, enhance aesthetic value, and facilitate adequate provision of transportation, schools, parks, and other public requirements.

Site Plan Review

A detailed site plan is submitted, along with associated documents to particular government departments, agencies, utility companies, etc. for review and initial comments. The purpose of the review is to address how the particular development is designed and to address any issues related to public safety, water supply, sewage disposal, utilities, traffic, emergency access, public obstructions, and a variety of other elements.

Design Review

The developer is the designer for the project. During the design review, architectural building elevations, landscape plans, and drawings related to design principles are provided to ensure aesthetic requirements are taken into consideration.

City Entitlement Process

Before a project can proceed it must be approved by local and regulatory agencies and often, new commercial development must receive approval from city council. Working with, and gaining approval from the city’s planning department generally allows for a planning commission or city council to approve the project at a formal public hearing. 

Public Hearing

A public hearing will take place for local property owners and residents, in order to hear feedback on the proposed commercial development. Any individual or community group including a neighborhood council has the right to speak on the proposed project. 

Once a project has received entitlement, and after obtaining the building permit, the project is normally ready to move into the next phase: construction.

Stage 2 : Construction 

With all relevant permits in hand, the next stage in the real estate development process is building construction. The building construction is when the "idea on paper" takes form including frames, walls, roofs, and all of the major components of building.  During this phase, the project team works with a construction company who is responsible for track construction progress in phases designed to minimize disruption to surrounding areas. Concurrently, a marketing campaign begins, targeting families for residential units and company brands and retail establishments for commercial space.  The final step in the construction process is obtaining the certificate of occupancy.

Stage 3 : Operations

Once the construction is complete the building begin taking on life of their own, the focus of the developer shifts to operations. Some developers will hold the property as part of their legacy asset strategy, while others may sell to a buyer. Regardless, the goal of Stage 3 is to ensure the properties are used to their fullest potential in order to meet community demand for housing, goods and services, and to generate revenue for the city and project investors.  
bottom of page