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December 03, 2014

On the horizon: big land sale in downtown Kirkland

Puget Sound Business Journal

Marc Stiles

Compared to 20 years ago, the downtown of suburban Kirkland is looking downright urban. Now it could get more populated, thanks to the impending sale of a large property in the heart of the central business district.

A multi-family developer is under contract to buy the nearly one-acre site where the Antique Mall operated at 113 Third St., until several years ago, said Dave Speers, a broker with commercial real estate company Kidder Mathews, on Tuesday. He represents the seller, Marilyn Dillard.

Current zoning allows a 55-foot-tall building with around 140 units, though the number of residences would depend on the size of the units. Nearby, two other residential projects with a total of around 365 units are under construction. All this activity is in addition to developments that city Planning Supervisor Jeremy McMahan estimates have added around 1,350 condos and apartments to the city's core over the last 20 years or so.

The Antique Mall site is one of the last remaining large development sites in tony downtown Kirkland, which is near Microsoft's headquarters and Google's expanding Eastside campus. It's not surprising how quickly the sale of the Antique Mall property has moved.

"It just went on the market three weeks ago, and we are now under contract," Speers said, adding most interested parties were multi-family developers, "with a sprinkling of office developers."

There was no set asking price for the Antique Mall, though Speers said he was anticipating "a certain pricing level that we exceeded by quite a bit." He did not name the buyer or give the price, and said he did not know whether the buyer plans to build apartments or condos. There will be retail space at the street level.

Mid-rise projects have been springing up in the downtown corridor, along streets lined with boutiques and restaurants. The development boom is by design.

"We pride ourselves on being very walkable and compact," said Ellen Miller-Wolfe, the city's economic development manager.

But until now nothing has happened at the Antique Mall despite its central location between the proposed Kirkland Parkplace mixed-use project which, at nearly 1.2 million square feet will be the largest ever downtown to the east and developer Stuart McLeod's planned office/retail project at 112 Lake St. S.

The project on the Antique Mall property is "a huge connect for us and potentially very catalytical," said Ellen Miller-Wolfe, the city's economic development manager. She hopes that the buyer will work with the city to build public parking in the project. "We are always looking for additional parking, especially in the peak hours."

For the full story, go to Puget Sound Business Journal.

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