With a number of large redevelopment proposals now under review by city officials and citizens, it is difficult to keep up with all of the changes coming to Kirkland. To keep on top of it all, here is a brief recap of several projects currently going through the process.
The city’s planning commission met July 31 to confirm plans for an environmental review of Touchstone’s Parkplace proposal. A Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) is required before the project can be approved.
The commission agreed to review an eight-story mixed-use plan for re-developing Parkplace. Plans to review the commission’s proposal for 11 stories were dropped July 10.
The plans for the 1.8-million-square-foot proposal will also be reviewed for additional setbacks and a requirement for sunlight to reach at least half of a proposed central plaza. The FEIS is expected in October.
The commission also reviewed several changes needed to traffic and parking infrastructure should the project go forward. According to city engineers, up to 10 traffic intersections are expected to fail in five years if Parkplace is rebuilt. The developer may be required to pay for the improvements, which are expected to cost at least $7 million.
Touchstone also applied to subdivide, or “short plat,” the lot last month. The application is necessary for the developer’s alternate plan for a five-story office park to move forward, should the request for eight stories fail. If the office plan is approved by the city planning department, Touchstone could decide to preserve, or “vest,” the existing zoning for Parkplace without the requirement to retain retail uses. Critics, including a citizen’s group called Kirkland Citizens for Responsible Development, call the lack of retail zoning requirements a loophole. They complain the developer is leveraging the five-story office plan to gain approval for the eight-story height variance. The approval of a short plat typically takes 30 days, according to Kirkland city planner Teresa Swan.
Modified BofA plans
Since the City Council last considered modified plans for the Bank of America re-development (BofA) appeal at a July 1 hearing, the city has adopted a framework to allow the appellant, Citizens for a Vibrant Kirkland (CiViK), to ask SRM Development, the applicant, a series of questions about the modified plans.
In addition to answers, SRM disclosed they have further modified the project. Plans now include restoring a planned cafe on Lake Street and offering additional setbacks to the proposed fifth floor.
Juanita mixed-use project going ahead
Kirkland Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner denied an appeal of a 52,000 square-foot mixed use development project in Juanita on July 25.
The appellant, Arni Fredrickson, claimed the city erred in its decision that the project would present a safe environment for residents. Called “The Waterbrook,” the proposed 84-condo development will include approximately 12,000 square feet of retail space. The property is located across 98th Avenue Northeast from the Juanita Village development.
Modified McLeod project approved
During its July 15 meeting, the City Council passed a resolution supporting modified plans for the McLeod redevelopment project along Lake Street on a 5-2 vote. Councilwoman Jessica Greenway and Mayor Jim Lauinger, who called the project a “missed opportunity,” opposed the measure.
Proposed by developer Stuart McLeod, the development along Lake Street South would consist of 30,000 square feet of retail space and 139,000 square feet of office space. The buildings range in height from two to four stories.
Councilman Dave Asher, who expressed hesitancy in supporting the project, said city codes need to be tightened. He specifically cited the code’s lack of “legal sufficiency,” or ability to stand up the scrutiny of developers and their lawyers.