City of Kirkland to purchase $4.6M properties next to Houghton Shopping Center

In this image, the subject properties (outlined in purple) are located between the Cross Kirkland Corridor and the Houghton Shopping Center.

In this image, the subject properties (outlined in purple) are located between the Cross Kirkland Corridor and the Houghton Shopping Center.

Future uses of the parcels may include affordable housing or a transit stop along the CKC

The City of Kirkland plans to purchase land in Houghton adjacent to the Cross Kirkland Corridor. According to the council packet providing background on the subject, "This unique opportunity to purchase this real property is consistent that vision and satisfies a part of the CKC Master Plan. By purchasing this property, the City can create direct access between the CKC and the Houghton Shopping Center and help increase economic growth in the area. Currently, there is no direct access to the Houghton Shopping Center from the CKC."

According to the website www.houghtonlives.com, the purpose of the purchase of the property across the street from Metropolitan Market “provides the City with the ability to secure the strategically located property to establish access to the CKC, while allowing time to determine the best long-term use of the site.” The backgrounder goes on to state: “Given the unique and strategic location of the parcels relative to the CKC and the potential for other public uses that may include affordable housing or a future transit stop along the CKC…

In addition, we have obtained a copy of the following letter sent to the city council on this subject:


City Council:

I was just informed yesterday about the plan to buy this property.  I must say I am violently opposed to this plan in its present form or lack of a plan thereof.
 
I am tired of the City spending money it doesn’t have by borrowing from a needed fund and then crying they need more money in that fund because it is a necessity.  This a backhanded, double dealing way of funding so called “feel good” projects.
 
A future transit stop?  That is the most ludicrous idea I have heard in some time.  The physical limitations of the land do not lend itself to buses.  Buses on 106th Ave NE?  Are you kidding me?  Hello!  The bus already stops on 108th.  Perhaps someone riding the bus to walk the trail could walk the two blocks to the trail.
 
Affordable housing.  This makes a lot of sense.  Let’s take a piece of high value land and use it for low income housing.  Howard Roark (if he weren’t a fictional character) would turn over in his grave.  Buy land that doesn’t have such a high value and you can use those extra dollars for more units.  South Kirkland just acquired a huge low income housing project on 108th.  OK, that might have made sense as it is a part of the transit hub.  But not this location. 
 
And, while we are at it, let’s locate the affordable housing next to the Metropolitan Market so they can shop there.  Never mind that the prices are higher at the Met than at Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck).
 
BTW, the existing housing on the property is already more affordable than a good deal of Kirkland.  But of course you will have to kick out those residents for a couple of years while going through the development and building process.
 
These questions need to be answered before committing to a purchase of the land.
1.      What is the real plan for the property?
2.      What happens to the current residents in the buildings?
3.      Can we afford this given that there are other City-wide projects like the Aquatics and Recreation Center (ARC) and the proposed North End Fire Station?
4.      How does this fit with planning the Central Houghton, Moss Bay, Lakeview, and Everest neighborhoods are going to do for the Houghton Business Center next year?
 
I respectfully ask you turn down this ill-advised recommendation from the staff.
 
Thank you.
 
Marv Scott