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The McLeod Project: A Lifeline for Downtown Kirkland

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.

StuartMcLeodProject 002 StuartMcLeodProject 001

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


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Steve Maita, Maita Communications

Hi Janis,

Thanks for the update. We walk by this every day and I was wondering what was going to happen there. I having seen anything on this until now. This sounds very encouraging for downtown Kirkland. Can't wait to see how this comes out.


I'm happy to see the outdoor restaurant space. Having seen many many village waterfront areas I totally agree that we are not utilizing our waterfront space very well. And I'm really happy that Stuart wants to keep the village feel and not end up with the travesty that is now Juanita.

Rachel M

SOOOO Excited! IT can't come soon enough!
I've been to Peppertree Lane in Laguna and it's very nice and artsy...i wish we had the same weather.
I'm also looking forward to the outdoor seating, fireplaces and areas of gathering.
Well Done Stuart!



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Terry Parkhurst

For 20 years, circa 1974-'94, Stuart McLeod staged some of the most outstanding collector car auctions in the Pacific Northwest. If anyone can transform downtown Kirkland, it is he.

He has taste, intelligence and that most elusive of traits, soul. Auction producers are akin to theater producers, staging events to delight, entertain and create a marketplace - all traits that are good for a developer. Moreover, as a longtime Kirkland resident, he cares about the city.

Any guy who could find offerings such as an Aston Martin once owned by King Hussain of Jordon for an auction, has the creativity to pull this off.

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Finally I wish you all a happy New Year, family happiness, everything goes well!


I came across this blog searching for awnings design. I would like to buy one...anyway: very good blog.

Ryan Johannson

This will never happen. Its all talk - much like downtown Kirkland politics.

Sandi Hart

Take a look at the latest design - MAJOR changes from the building described above. Kirkland is about to get an approximately 82,000 square foot, 6 story building on this property. The building will butt up against the current public walkway making it approximately 14 feet away from existing residences literally blocking the sunlight. This design is almost through the Kirkland Design Review board without enough input from the citizens of Kirkland. Here are some things you can do to speak up: Attend the DRB meeting on Monday, January 14, 2013 at 7pm to voice your opinion, send letters and emails to the City Council and the DRB. Please help us stop Kirkland from becoming another Bellevue!

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