Kirklands’s Village at Totem Lake receives Governor’s Smart Communities Award

The award is granted to exemplary projects that demonstrate positive community collaboration.

As part of the Jan. 18 Kirkland City Council meeting, the City was awarded the Governor’s Smart Communities Award for the Village at Totem Lake. The Smart Communities Award recognizes local governments and their partners for exceptional work in implementing the state’s Growth Management Act. Kirkland received the Judge’s Merit Award.

The award is granted to projects that demonstrate creative leadership, constructive collaboration, and best practices for other communities to adopt. Judges noted they were extremely impressed with the Village at Totem Lake project for the substantial public-private investment partnership, its “transformation of a ‘70s era mall into a transit-oriented mixed-use village,” and the excellent example it sets in bringing a long-range community plan into fruition.

“The Village at Totem Lake Project is a testament to the bold vision of creating a vibrant, walkable community place championed by successive City Councils,” said Councilmember Kelli Curtis. “Through a robust community engagement process, partnerships with forward-thinking private developers, and an orchestrated city-wide department collaboration, this project exemplifies Kirkland’s priorities of community building, placemaking, and sustainability.”

The project evolved from the Totem Lake Plan that was adopted in 2002. Along with $557 million in private investment, the City contributed $15 million towards improvements to 120th Ave NE and the public plaza as part of a Redevelopment Agreement between the City and CenterCal Properties. In addition, the City has invested approximately $34 million towards several projects near the Village at Totem Lake, including:

– Totem Lake Park

– Totem Lake Connector bicycle and pedestrian bridge

– Street improvements along Totem Lake Boulevard near Totem Lake Park

– Turn lane improvements at NE 116th Street and 124th Ave NE

– Drainage improvements near the Comfort Inn property

“The Village project was a great accomplishment toward the vision of the Totem Lake Business District which the City drafted with the community in 2015,” said Councilmember Curtis. “This project aligns with that vision to create a central core in Totem Lake that includes a dense mix of medical, retail, office, and housing in architecturally attractive buildings, all with connections to the Cross Kirkland Corridor. Our diligent planning has led to this amazing place, a true village.”

The City produced a video featuring Mayor Penny Sweet, who discusses the history and vision behind the project. That video can be found on the City’s YouTube channel.