New transit oriented housing project will be next
Local elected officials and affordable housing advocates celebrated the start of major construction on a long-awaited project that will improve transit operations on the State Route 520 corridor and expand housing opportunities for moderate income residents.
The first large structure will be a new 532-stall parking garage for King County Metro Transit to serve commuters. Transit service will be maintained throughout the construction, and a new transit access drive will be built for improved service. The garage is expected to open in the summer of 2013.
Following completion of the transit improvements, a mixed income, mixed-use community of 242 apartments will be developed with initial occupancy targeted for December 2014. Full build-out of the transit-oriented development project is anticipated in the first half of 2015.
With the residential portion located along the south edge of Kirkland and the parking garage located just inside Bellevue, the ground breaking recognizes the interagency cooperation among King County and the two cities. An agreement on goals for the development was approved by each of the three elected councils.
“By building quality housing on top of what was once a surface park-and-ride lot, we are providing Eastside residents with an option for new and affordable housing that is just a step away from frequent transit service,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.
In addition to the transit improvements, developer Polygon Northwest will build a mixed-use community with 184 residences, approximately 7,000 square feet of retail, and 287 additional parking spaces for residents. Imagine Housing, a local non-profit affordable housing developer, will build 58 affordable residences.
”This innovative and integrated transit oriented development will prepare us for the transition to the new 520 bridge, take cars off the road and provide affordable housing opportunities for those who work and live in the area,” stated King County Councilmember Jane Hague.
An important goal of the South Kirkland Park & Ride project is to place new jobs and housing in close proximity to a key transportation hub, and to add density to a historically low density area. The project included inviting the surrounding communities to participate in various stages of the development process.
Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride said: “The South Kirkland Park & Ride is the first project to be developed under the City’s new Yarrow Bay Business District zoning. “It’s intended to foster and grow the business district with stronger economic development opportunities for mixed use, new jobs and housing that are close to transportation routes.”
The new transit and residential campus will feature a network of pedestrian linkages, plazas, courts and sidewalks which are being built to connect the new community to the wider neighborhood.
“This project is another great example of what can be accomplished when we work together with our regional partners,” said Bellevue Mayor Conrad Lee. “The new South Kirkland Park & Ride promotes transit ridership along the SR 520 corridor, supports Bellevue’s policy to pursue affordable housing opportunities, and strengthens the integration of transportation and land use.”