Mark Eliasen called the meeting to order. There were 45 people in attendance.
Our first presentation was on the redevelopment of Houghton Center, former location of Houghton Market. Tom Markl of Nelson Legacy Group told us that this local family owned business has owned the property since 1960. They are long term investors – not developers.
Rick Driftmier, architect on the project, told us that Metropolitan market will occupy the old Houghton Market space on the upper level and also include several thousand square feet of space on the lower level, previously occupied by other businesses. The State Dept of Licensing is gone and will not return. The roof over the lower level has been removed and the atrium will now be an open air courtyard. Bartell Drugs will remain, as well as most of the tenants on west side of center. There are two retail spaces on courtyard still to be leased. Renderings of the project are available on the Driftmier Architects web site http://www.driftmier.com/retail/houghton-center/
Todd Korman - Chief Operating Officer of Metropolitan Market and Jeff Baskett, Kirkland Store Director, told us that Metropolitan Market was founded 1971 and now has five stores besides Kirkland with a total of 675 employees. The stores are known for high quality products, outstanding service and a knowledgeable staff. The mix of products is 60% standard grocery products and 40% unique, specialty products (fresh, natural, organic). On the upper level will be seafood, deli, and fresh foods, while the lower level will have a wellness dept, gelato & frozen gelato cakes plus the back room function. Most Metropolitan Markets are about 20,000 – 25,000 square feet (about half the size of a large chain store). The Kirkland store will be 27,000 square feet on two levels and will have a staff of about 115 employees. Metropolitan Market is holding a job fair Jan 26 10-5pm at the Marriott Courtyard in Kirkland. The store is expected to open in mid April and will be open 24 hours a day
Report by Bea Nahon, Moss Bay representative to the Kirkland Alliance of Neighborhoods (KAN):
1. City Manager David Ramsay is retiring in March, 2010 and the City is in the process of identifying and hiring a successor. The public is invited to a special forum on Tuesday January 26 at 7PM at City Hall to provide input. Specifically, they are asking for citizen input on the current issues and challenges facing the City - now, 5 years from now and 10 years from now. They also want to know what citizens think the personal and leadership characteristics will be important for a new City Manager to meet those challenges. If you would like more information about this meeting or if you want to provide responses to these questions online, please see http://www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/News_Room/nr010810CMForum.htm and/or http://www.ci.kirkland.wa.us/depart/CMO/Kirkland_City_Manager_Recruitment.htm
2. The Kirkland Alliance of Neighborhoods had a presentation by an organization known as KDOG, which is seeking to have an off-leash dog park in Kirkland. If you are interested in knowing more, please see http://www.kdog.org/
3. Due to City budget cuts, there will be decreased funds available for park maintenance. At KAN's next meeting, a significant agenda item will be discussion of how neighborhoods and businesses can partner with the City to provide ongoing maintenance of our parks. Our parks are an important part of what makes Kirkland a great place to live! If you have ideas that you would like to share about how this could work, or if you have specific ideas about how this could work for the Moss Bay neighborhood, please contact Bea at firstname.lastname@example.org . The KAN meetings are open to the public and you are welcome to attend - the next meeting is Wednesday, March 10 at 7PM at Heritage Hall. You are especially encouraged to attend this next meeting because of this important issue.
Carolyn Hayek was our next speaker. Carolyn has been on the Planning Commission for the maximum term of 8 years and will be retiring in March. Carolyn mentioned that she is the only member of the commission who lives in Moss Bay and also the only one who lives in a multi-family building. If you are interested in serving on the Commission, visit the Planning Commission web page and sign up for email alerts. A call for applications should be coming soon. The Planning Commission is involved with long term issues such as zoning, neighborhood plans etc. Developments come before Planning Commission if zoning change is part of the development plan.
Recent meetings of the Commission have dealt with Kirkland's Shoreline Master Program Update and tree ordinance changes. Carolyn mentioned that the Park Place Project has been remanded to the City for some changes in the Environmental Impact Statement as a result of an appeal of the project. Once the revision is complete, the Planning Commission will review the project once again in light of the new EIS.
A Planning Commission meeting with the City Council is planned for Feb 2 from 6-7pm at City Hall to outline the commissions work for 2010. Upcoming Commission activities will include the Lakeview & Houghton neighborhood plan revisions. The Moss Bay plan review keeps getting postponed.
Our next meeting will be March 15, 2010 7PM at Heritage Hall, 203 Market. St.