Finally! Some development is on its way in downtown Kirkland and I think it's something to get excited about. I sat down with Stuart McLeod, 55 year Kirkland resident and owner of the property spanning from Hector's to Ben & Jerry's, to get the inside scoop on his vision and plans. He's a long-term thinker and loves the creative process around development (which means we're in luck).
To minimize risk, this project will be happening in three phases. The first phase involves some re-vamping of the more southern building by opening up the corner where Mixtura used to be (it will still be a restaurant but with more outdoor seating). The target date for completion is March 1st. Expect to see brick and awnings to keep the Kirkland feel we know and love along Lake Street. Ben & Jerry's closed recently and will be re-opening in early spring and Thin Pan is also remodeling and has signed a new long-term lease to stay. Not firm yet, but there might also be a really cool and casual healthy food restaurant in this building. The second floor could be office space or retail space-an artist gallery or maybe even a boutique athletic club? What do you think would be a good fit? Stuart is in discussions re:leasing right now, being mindful of having high quality tenants that can be complimentary.
Phase 2 is the coolest part- check out the rendition to the left (click to enlarge). This is to begin in early summer 2010 and finish winter 2010. Hector's original 1918 building will stay intact, aside from some modest expansion in the bar, kitchen and back outdoor seating. The structure to south of Hector's and north of the parking lot (ie World Wrapps/Manhattan Boutique) will come down and be re-built as a 2 story building that coincides with its surrounding structures-- brick, bay windows, awnings. But it will also incorporate new comfortable village-like spaces- fireplaces, sitting areas, cobblestone pathways winding through storefronts (see overhead photo). Stuart loves Peppertree Lane in Laguna Beach and has modeled some of this development after that concept. There's a 7000 square foot rooftop restaurant with outdoor seating and panoramic views. Kudos to Chesmore/Buck Architecture for thoughtfully putting this all together with Stuart.
Phase 3 is not designed yet and will likely be retail or restaurant space (dependent on market demand then) at grade level above the subterranean parking. This is the area that is currently Calabrisella and the parking lot.
This urban village feel could be a real jump start towards re-vitalizing our downtown. Stuart even commented on how Kirkland has one of the most underperforming waterfront communities on the west coast. When questioned about other opportunities he saw in Kirkland, Stuart commented, "Marina Park could have tremendous potential for gathering people and events. If it was done carefully and respectfully." One step at a time- right now I'm just looking forward to hanging out on that rooftop deck next summer. ~j