Just like its Northshore companion cities of Woodinville and Bothell, the City of Kenmore is working hard to create an updated, modern image that will attract business investments and residents who want to call Kenmore “home.”
A large part of that vision for Kenmore includes the development of Kenmore Village, an area approximately 9.6 acres in size where the current Kenmore Plaza and old park-and-ride are situated.
The city announced on June 10 a Purchase and Sale Agreement for the second parcel of land within Kenmore Village to the Benaroya Company and Real Property Investors (RPI). The 3.3-acre parcel selling price was $1.8 million.
Benaroya and RPI, who plan to form an LLC for the project, have a six month due diligence period to finalize the sale, pending studying issues including environmental factors, finding potential tenants and evaluating their own financial numbers. They put down $100,000 in earnest money on June 13, of which $50,000 is nonrefundable after 90 days.
Plans for the Benaroya/RPI parcel include retail, medical office and general office space, and requires at least 20,000 square feet of new construction, of which at least 5,000 square feet must be retail.
It is common knowledge that Evergreen Health is planning to work with Benaroya/RPI to build a new 10,000 square-foot clinic with urgent care facilities by the summer of 2015, although there is no formally signed letter of intent yet, according to Kenmore City Manager Rob Karlinsey.
The first parcel of land, 1.5 acres, was sold to Kenmore Camera which is currently renovating an old grocery store across the street from its present location.
Kenmore began its vision for the future in 1999 when it started acquiring parcels of land, culminating in buying approximately 9.6 acres of land for the proposed Kenmore Village for $8.225 million by 2005.
A 4.75-acre upper parcel, which includes the former park-and-ride, is in sale negotiations with MainStreet Property Group LLC, with a proposed sale up for consideration at the next Kenmore City Council meeting on July 8.
While the city is remaining flexible on what type of development the buyers will propose for the Village, it has set some parameters, according to Karlinsey.
“The developers cannot flip a deal, some property has to be used for right-of-way and angle-in parking, about 10,000 square feet of space must be developed for a quality, signature outdoor public gathering space, and there is a set build schedule timeline for the MainStreet deal,” he said.
“We wanted to see investment happening sooner rather than later,” said City Manager Rob Karlinsey regarding setting a build schedule timeline.
Because of the parameters outlined by the city, coupled with a market decline in the land’s value and offering less land for sale than what was purchased, Karlinsey said Kenmore does not expect to recoup all of the $8.225 million spent buying the properties.
However, the city expects to see at least $25 million of new investment in the downtown core area stemming from the sale and development of the Kenmore Village properties, he said.
“We listed through commercial brokers in order to cast a wide net to scour the market for buyers,” Karlinsey explained, adding, “The offers accepted were the highest received from 16 prospective buyers.”
While the finalized look of Kenmore Village is yet to be determined, the city has sought a lot of community input through community forums and meetings seeking ideas of how to use the space and create a vision for Kenmore.
“We see Kenmore Village as a catalyst for the downtown growth of Kenmore,” Karlinsey said. Envisioned amenities could include another retail anchor such as a specialty grocery store like Trader Joe’s and a nice quality sit-down restaurant that spills to outdoor dining adjacent to the town square, along with smaller retail shops and services.