Two large mixed-use projects are in the works for Kirkland’s Rose Hill neighborhood as the city looks to make the area more pedestrian friendly.
The first, and largest, is known as the Rose Hill mixed-used project proposed by Madison Development Group. It is a 1.09 million square foot project spread out over 10 buildings, which the group plans to build on 12040 Northeast 85th St. The current strip mall on-site holds a PetCo, Dollar Tree and other businesses.
The five-story project will create 88,000 square feet of commercial space and up to 650 apartments on the nearly 7-acre plot of land. At least 50 percent of space on the first floor will contain retail, restaurants, taverns or a hotel, according to planning documents submitted to the city.
Another development is also in the works along Northeast 85th Street off 132nd Avenue Northeast. Kirkland city staff is reviewing another mixed-use complex known as The Continental Divide proposed by Merit Homes. The developer is seeking to build 133 apartments along with 7,500 square feet of commercial space in the four-story building, including a combined layer of parking and retail.
These developments in the Rose Hill neighborhood are in line with the city’s vision for the Northeast 85th Street corridor, said Kirkland deputy planning director Adam Weinstein as it tries to facilitate more housing and a more walkable street.
“The city is really trying to work hard to balance the interest of folks who really value their quiet neighborhoods with the city’s (needs),” he said.
Weinstein said city staff has heard concerns from residents about traffic, which could be increased with new residential developments. To address this, Weinstein said the city is trying to get better transit service along Northeast 85th Street, but in order to support more bus routes, the city must increase density. In particular, a new transit hub that will be built at the Interstate 405 and Northeast 85th Street interchange could provide more service for residents.
“We’re focusing our proposed rezoning efforts in that area to again really leverage the transit investments,” he said.
If more residents are using transit, it could offset the amount of people using personal vehicles to navigate the city. Along with that, Weinstein said the city will focus on making bike and pedestrian infrastructure improvements through better bike lanes and sidewalks.
Land uses and designs are other ways the city can get people out of cars. The current strip malls, with their large parking lots, are not welcoming to people walking, Weinstein said. Building mixed-used developments with storefronts closer to the sidewalks and streets could encourage people to walk instead of drive.
Additionally, by clustering growth along the major street in the neighborhood, Weinstein said the city is protecting nearby residential neighborhoods from more development. The city is currently updating its neighborhood plans for the Rose Hill and Bridle Trails. A first draft for Rose Hill was released in July.
Rose Hill contains two separate neighborhoods, north and south in addition to two commercial centers. While the neighborhood is primarily residential, it is the second highest-grossing neighborhood for sales tax revenue in the city. Higher-density housing is envisioned near commercial centers to the north near Totem Lake and along Northeast 85th Street.
The Kirkland Planning Commission will study the plan at a September 13 meeting at 7 p.m. The city council is scheduled to vote on adoption of the update at its December 18 city council meeting.