Heritage Hills development was originally developed by Swanson and Dean who built 6 of the first 14 houses. The other 8 original houses were built by smaller builders. The reason the homes each have a distinct architecture is that most of the homes in Heritage Hills were built during a period of time when the Northwest benefited from developers selling lots to small and medium-sized builders.
Around 1980, Swanson Dean sold the Heritage Hills development to Quadrant Homes. In 1980 the price range in Heritage Hills was $123,000 to $179,900.
The lots on the north end of the plateau (as it used to be called) are larger than the lots on the south end of the plateau because of a King County comprehensive plan that was put into place in the mid-1980s.
Heritage Hills was originally named Sahalee Hills and had to be changed to Heritage Hills because the Sahalee community wanted to keep their exclusive identity as an exclusive golf course.
When the four Heritage Hills Pioneer Families moved into Heritage Hills, the street lights were present, but not activated. The developer did not want to activate lights to keep costs down, since Quadrant was paying all the bills; and the second, we were missing a clause in the CC&Rs - allowing the street electric bill to be paid!
There were no street lights or stop lights from Heritage Hills to the Bear Creek Shopping Center. Driving at night was dark because everything beyond the few curbed cul de sacs was fir trees, scotch pine, ferns - forest. Sahalee was 2/3 built out and still had land set aside for a pool and tennis courts - the golfing faction beat out the pool/tennis court faction and no pool or tennis courts were ever allowed to be built. There were some houses in Inglewood off of NE 14th, and some off of NE Inglewood Road. Heading south on 228th Avenue SE, there were a couple of developments and the Lutheran Bible Institute and the Recovery Center - nothing else. Sahalee Way and 228th Avenue were two-lane country roads with no shoulders. Sahalee Way, 228th Avenue NE, and Redmond - Fall City Road had no shoulders and few nifty neighborhoods with names and lights at their entries. Sahalee was the only neighborhood between Heritage Hills and Redmond.
The entry at the time was a New England style stone wall on each side of the street and had no lighting. Early homeowners petitioned the developer to add a street light to the island at the north entrance. After waiting many months, and finally, after about two years, Heritage Hills could be found in the dark!
In 1980 the only place to buy milk, or any other groceries was in Redmond at the Bear Creek Safeway, which after two substantial remodels is three times the size it was then. It took seven minutes to drive into Redmond on the two-lane country road with no shoulders and a couple of narrow bridges, called Redmond - Fall City Road.
Heritage Hills was a community of 14 houses and 3 families. We were very lucky to catch the two-week interest rate dip to 11.5%. During the next two years, interest rates soared to 20% plus! The four families lived in Heritage Hills mostly by themselves for the next two years. They laughingly thought of the pool, park, and tennis courts as their own. They could use them at any time and Quadrant Development paid all the bills!
The 14 houses were on 224th Avenue NE, NE 28th Place, and NE 28th Street - near the north entry and the "field" end of the park. Two of them were built by Trull Development (a high-end builder who ventured off Mercer Island and felt uncomfortable building this 'far out'), two by Segalla, 2 by a builder who didn't build much after Heritage Hills, and 8 by Swanson Dean.
Around 1982, we were able to have our dairy products delivered by Roger Melseth of Smith Brother's Dairy. He knew us all by name, and probably still does - even though his clientele in Heritage Hills is much larger!
The original developer was Quadrant Corporation who was given an award in 1981 for best community by the Master Builder's Association. Heritage Hills was built during a time when developers built plats and then sold them to individual builders. There were hundreds of small builders in the marketplace, who did much of the construction work on the homes they built. They could go out and buy one, four, six lots - whatever their bankers would allow. They were roofers, or framers, or finish carpenters that decided to become general contractors. That is why Heritage Hills has a more custom feel than many of the other neighborhoods on the Plateau.
In 2006 the house sales prices ranged from $559,950 to $725,000 and square footage ranged from 2110 to 3642. This square footage range mirrors the range of house sizes in the neighborhood. In 2006 the median price for sales in Heritage Hills was $589,950 and the average price was $614,699. The median square footage for the homes that sold was 3150 and the average square footage was 2356.
Heritage Hills is a very special neighborhood because it is the smallest single-family neighborhood on the Eastside, with 253 homes, to have a six-acre park with a pool, tennis court, basketball court, and soccer/baseball field. It is truly a special community.
To give you a perspective on why Heritage has a different feel than most of the neighborhoods south of us is because, around 1992 to 1993, due to lenders increasing the percentage of down payment required for construction loans, the King county area lost approximately 30% of our builders. During that time builders like Buchan, Conner Homes, Quadrant became larger.
Also, as we continue to expand to the east, the land that was homesteaded was in larger parcels and this created the opportunity for larger developers to build master-planned communities. Klahanie was the first one on the "Plateau".
Special thanks to Karen McKnight for contributing much of our history. Please feel free to send us some early pictures or additional information from the early years.