LETTER | Kirkland's first sustainable and affordable art community

[box type="tick" style="rounded" border="full"]This letter is written in response to LETTER | Is ANOTHER newly proposed development the next Potala?[/box]

Dear Editor:


The creation of Kirkland’s first live/work art community is about people and our City.   “Sustainable, enjoyable and affordable living” is our focus for many single artists who want to live in our downtown.  They have a soft footprint on life, ask for smaller spaces, and a majority simply don’t use cars as part of their single resident occupant “SRO” lifestyle.  This community is about creating real affordability.


Tudor Manor, created by us working with the City of Redmond, is the City’s first SRO community, and it has proven that reduced car ownership is effective and real.  The transportation analysis at Tudor Manor, done by a third party transportation engineer, found that each “SRO” had 1/10th of the peak car use of single family and 1/6th of multifamily.  This means that at Tudor Manor, the vehicle use during the afternoon rush hour is reduced to about 16% of what would be expected from a standard multifamily community. On the other hand, the pedestrian peak trips to and from the community was near double that of the vehicles.  No surprise, as the Tudor Manor residences regularly walk, bike, and use transit in downtown Redmond.  Tudor Manor provides one stall per two units, more parking than is used, so with City approval, several stalls have been converted for more bike space.  One vehicle stall for every two SRO’s is a consistent ratio to that of two people in an apartment with one stall.  Our retail and standard apartments will have adequate parking based on the current code, but let’s not waste concrete and asphalt where “people places” should be.  We need more community gathering spaces, more places to share a cup of coffee or a story, not more parking for those who have no use for it. Let’s create genuine sustainable affordability going beyond just talk, and let’s do it together.  There is a reason why Tudor Manor just won the Governor’s Smart Communities award.


The amazing part of our SRO residents is that they will live and work in our downtown, supporting their neighboring retail businesses and adding more vibrancy and economic strength. Kirkland’s new ”live, work, display and sell art community” will provide a center of focus for all of us, which will create an enriched downtown providing our art community a place to go, to work, and to show their work, and a place for people to view and enjoy the arts.


We have experience. We are creators of the most sustainable communities on the Eastside: called LEED Platinum. We have been issued the only three residential Eastside LEED Platinum certificates.  It is hard work to create spaces that are affordable, enjoyable, and sustainable, but we are doing it.  It is better for our citizens and our City.  From solar hot water and solar hydronic heat to more breathable interior air, our communities create a softer footprint, a better footprint for our citizens.  From our perspective, we all should be creating more truly sustainable communities region wide.


Right now we are beginning the long journey to see if Kirkland wants its first sustainable, enjoyable and affordable live/work art community. For us, it is about a passion and a belief in our community that we love, and it is up to the community to decide if that is what Kirkland wants.  Be mindful that we will have more than a year of public process, which will include detailed reviews for code compliance, life safety and Design Review Board before we even begin to start to build Kirkland’s first center focused art community.  This is a long journey.


We will be working with our community to develop ideas.  The real questions are: Do we want sustainable? Do we want enjoyable? Do we want affordable? Do we want a place for artists and those who enjoy their work? Do we want to put these values all together into Kirkland to create our first sustainable, enjoyable and affordable art community?


Thank you,


Robert Pantley