City of Kirkland looks to merge police, courthouse in My Home Wholesale building
By MATT PHELPS
Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor
June 8, 2010 · Updated 6:00 PM
The Kirkland City Council voted unanimously to authorize city staff to negotiate the purchase of the building that currently houses My Home Wholesale in Kirkland during the June 1 council meeting.
The building, if purchased by the city, would be used as a joint public safety building for both the Kirkland Police Department and the Kirkland Municipal Courthouse.
"This is very exciting," said Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride. "The police department was busting at the seams. Had we not annexed, this may not have been possible. It is almost like a gift."
The possible purchase of the building at 11831 120th Avenue N.E. is part of a plan to expand City Hall to meet the needs of a growing city. The building is approximately 103,000-square-feet. City staff want to move quickly on the purchase to take advantage of the down real estate market and low interest rates. But physical needs have a big impact as well.
"We are working with a little sense of urgency because we are hiring all of these people and we need a place to put them," said Interim City Manager Marilynne Beard.
The Kirkland City Council approved annexation during the last meeting of 2009. The annexation will grow the city's population from approximately 48,000 to 81,000. City Hall expansion is expected to cost around $48 million.
The location of the building is also key. Located one block east of the current Kirkland Municipal Court in the Totem Lake neighborhood, the police department would be more centrally located three miles north of its current location at City Hall. The move would also put the police department approximately 4.9 miles from the North-most Kirkland City boundary and 4.2 from the South-most boundary after the implementation of annexation on June 1, 2011, allowing for more even response times.
The preliminary plan is for the new public safety building to be ready to go by 2013. The building would have to be renovated for the city's use.
As for My Home Wholesale, business Manager Karen Russell said the possibility of the building being sold to the City of Kirkland will not impact the business for a while.
"We have been talking to the city and they are willing to let us (continue leasing) until they are ready to do construction," said Russell.
My Home Wholesale opened in July 2009 after Costco announced the discontinuation of their Home Store divisions. Russell said that the business has established itself in Kirkland and may attempt to find another location in 2013 within the city if the sale goes through.
"It is hard to say what the economy is going to do," said Russell. "But we hope to remain in Kirkland."
The company's Web site boasts that it has "3,000 customers a week."Contact Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor Matt Phelps at email@example.com or 425-822-9166 ext. 5052.