Across Lake Washington from Seattle, quiet Kirkland is in for a bustling future. Prior to the pandemic, the city was experiencing growth as it worked to accommodate 8,361 new housing units and 22,435 new jobs by 2035, averaging out to about 363 housing units and 975 jobs per year. Even with the pandemic in mind, Kirkland is preparing for a growth spurt.
The cause of this exponential growth? Everything from continued investment from businesses like Google, new construction projects and the annexation of land from nearby Finn Hill, Juanita and Kingsgate. The result is a population increase of 82 percent between 2011 and 2019, and a sizeable increase in land area thanks to the newly incorporated areas.
To accommodate a growing population and increasing job opportunities in the area, Kirkland is also developing a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that will include a new station in the city which will serve the greater I-405 corridor. The station will also allow for transit-related development and new construction within a half-mile radius of the station. Currently, the area includes multi-family residences, schools, parks and commercial/retail and office spaces.
One of the other notable new projects includes the completion of the Village at Totem Lake. The 26-acre urban lifestyle village has been under construction since 2016, but the development plans to wrap up by the end of this year. The Village includes commercial tenants such as Cinemark, Whole Foods and Nordstrom Rack, while the nearby Aura Totem Lake apartments have 202 housing units available, with two more complexes to be completed by spring 2021.
Another developing property, Kirkland Urban, is a mixed-use project on 11.5 acres in downtown Kirkland. The project caught the attention of Google, who purchased most of the property for $435.7 million in 2019, and has now added 1.1 million square feet of office space in the city. Google already had offices in the area, and during the pandemic many of its employees will continue to work from home. Additional businesses in the area will include restaurants, bars, shopping and more housing at the recently-opened Uptown Apartments.
Thanks to its rapid growth, Kirkland is now more committed than ever to the “Innovation Triangle” it forms with Bellevue and Redmond. Together, the three cities have formed an attractive hub for tech businesses and workers alike, as they foster improved commutes, residential areas, job opportunities and positive growth.
Please feel free to reachout with any questions you have!
Of all the impacts posed by thousands of new Amazon employees migrating to the Eastside, Bellevue officials perhaps weren’t expecting this — this could get ruff.
The Puget Sound Business Journal went through a series of emails among Bellevue city employees, and found that officials are now preparing for thousands of dogs that will likely come with their Amazon employee families. The company’s Seattle headquarters allows many employees to bring their dogs to work, numbering up around 6,000 to 7,000 pets.
Amazon has made other accommodations for its four-legged coworkers. The front desk has a steady supply of dog treats. There is a doggy deck on the 17th floor of one of its buildings — it includes a fake fire hydrant. The company also keeps plenty of poop bags on hand, water fountains, and relief areas. Amazon has even opened an off-leash park in the Denny Triangle.
Amazon even knows the most common doggy names at its HQ — Lucy, Bella, and Charlie.
This all means city planners in Bellevue are now looking to the area around the 1 million square feet of office space that Amazon will eventually occupy. Where are all of these dogs going to … go?
Amazon’s South Lake Union headquarters has a few parks and dog areas surrounding it. They are equipped with bushes and trash cans. One email from a Bellevue official expresses concern about the urban landscape around SLU, and how that issue may migrate to the Eastside.
“So … with Amazon coming, it is not just the residential buildings that need pet relief areas built into their developments,” they write. “Office buildings are becoming just as susceptible to impacts from dogs — if not more.”
About 45,000 employees are expected to move into the Bellevue office by 2022; more if the company expands even further in the city.