The owners of the former Bungie building in downtown Kirkland have tabled their plans to build an eight story residential building until there is more clarity on the adjacent Kirkland Parkplace redevelopment plans. MRM Development had requested a Private Amendment Request from the city to build residential on the site next door to the Kirkland Performance Center rather than the currently allowed office use.
The Planning Commission received several letters from nearby residents, many of whom opposed the plans. The issue which concerned most of the letter writers was allowing a building height of eight stories in downtown Kirkland. Portions of the proposed Kirkland Parkplace redevelopment is approved for eight stories but the project is in limbo.
One letter opposing the proposed PAR stated, "An eight story building anywhere in Kirkland will change the entire image of our fair city from a user friendly people oriented town to the beginning of a high rise commercial concrete urban city like Bellevue." Another simply stated, "The beauty and charm of Kirkland will be destroyed if this 8 story building gets built."
The anti-development sentiments were not universal. Some of the letters to the Planning Commission were in favor of allowing the PAR. One such letter read, "Central Kirkland needs to develop. It also needs open space. Only way is up!... I am in favor of a really glamorous eight or twelve story building..." Another read: "We want to see people walking on the streets of our city, shopping, and entertaining themselves. This is an unlikely prospect if the MRM PAR site is relegated to business use only. Turning Parkplace and MRM into an office park is not the proper use for this important DOWNTOWN center."
The following is the text of MRM's letter to the Planning Commission requesting the PAR be tabled:
Re: MRM Private Amendment Request (PAR)
Thank you for your consideration of the MRM Private Amendment Request (PAR). As you know, the PAR includes two separate proposals. The first is to increase allowed height on the MRM property to eight stories, from the currently allowed five. The second is to add residential as an allowed primary use, in addition to the currently allowed office, on the property.
At the last Planning Commission meeting, it became clear that the lack of definition of the potentially new proposal for Parkplace rendered it difficult for the Planning Commission to review the MRM PAR with an adequate level of certainty as to how approval of the PAR would affect development in CBD 5 as a whole.
In that light, MRM respectfully asks the Planning Commission to recommend tabling of the MRM PAR, pending the development of greater clarity as to what will be proposed for the Parkplace site. Once that greater clarity is achieved, it will be possible for the Planning Commission to evaluate the MRM proposal with a greater sense of confidence.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.