The city of Kirkland plans to redevelop the newly purchased Houghton Village shopping area with a focus on affordable housing and community services.
The $14 million purchase with an eye toward housing and public services is the first of its kind in Kirkland and, city officials say, reflects in part how the city is preparing for an influx of growth and development on the Eastside. The Kirkland City Council voted earlier this month to begin soliciting input from residents on the future use of the site.
The property, which the city bought last month, has 17,530 square feet of building space on 2.2 acres in south Kirkland at 10702 N.E. 68th St.
Houghton Village had been anchored by PCC Community Markets, but the regional food cooperative closed that location earlier this year. The city bought the site from a Kirkland owner who acquired the property in 1988, according to King County property records.
The city paid for the shopping area using a three-year interfund loan and plans to come up with a long-term financing plan for when the loan expires.
Beth Goldberg, Kirkland’s deputy city manager for operations, said it will take at least three years to finalize the redevelopment plans. There are about 10 tenants, including a teriyaki restaurant, cat rescue and dry cleaner, and the city has told them they are welcome to stay, Goldberg said.
City officials haven’t decided what types of service providers may be housed at the new development, or what threshold they’ll use to determine “affordable” housing in an area where the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $2,000.
“It depends on what we hear from the community,” Goldberg said.
City officials have stressed, however, that the development won’t be used for permanent supportive housing, like the La Quinta Inn & Suites that King County bought earlier this year to provide subsidized housing for people who are chronically homeless. That plan has been met with criticism from some families of students at nearby schools.
The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.