Editor's Note | 'Sleeping giant' series on Totem Lake Malls in Kirkland to launch next week
By CARRIE RODRIGUEZ
Kirkland Reporter Editor
January 6, 2011 · Updated 5:40 PM
Going through issue after issue of old Eastside Journal newspapers on microfiche at the Bellevue Library recently, it was refreshing to see how vibrant the Totem Lake Malls were when they broke ground in 1973.
Several newspaper advertisements boasted the area's first climate-controlled malls. Scores of people came to shop when the Totem Lake Malls opened and described the malls as an essential place on the growing Eastside.
Today, the malls are under-performing.
An economic downturn, lawsuit and delayed funding have contributed to what we see as the Totem Lake Malls now – a sleeping giant, as some city officials describe the site.
In an effort to learn more about the malls, the Reporter sat down with city officials, neighborhood leaders, historians, business owners, developers and more.
I am excited to announce that starting next week, we will launch a five-part series on the Totem Lake Malls. We will provide readers a comprehensive look at what the malls were in the '70s, what they are now and what the site has the potential to become.
Please look for part one of the series next week in the Jan. 14 issue that will examine the history of the malls. Part one will take you through how the Totem Lake Malls came about, the first stores in the malls, some resident's recollections of what it was like to shop there and the history of the surrounding lake.
Each week, we will offer a new part to the series. We will examine the current state of the malls, what valued businesses are still there, who owners DDR/Coventry are and what the lawsuit is about. The series will explain why the malls are dormant and what the city is currently doing to address these issues.
But we need your help to inspire the final part of the series. As you read through the series, please think about what you would like to see at the Totem Lake Malls, how you would like to see it redeveloped and give us your feedback by e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Readers will also have the opportunity to inform the final part of the Totem Lake Malls series as we will also launch our next Kirkland Conversations piece in conjunction with the the first series next week.
Next week's Kirkland Conversations is: “Totem Lake: The Sleeping Giant.” Please form your discussion groups, talk about the issues and fill out and return the corresponding questions to the Reporter. We will share your answers with city leaders and include many of them in part five of our Totem Lake Malls series: The future of the malls.
We look forward to your responses!Contact Kirkland Reporter Editor Carrie Rodriguez at email@example.com or 1-425-822-9166 (ext 5050).