July 6, 1998
Kenmore's LakePointe projected to begin mid-1999
But transportation issues still loom
by Tom Traeger
Kenmore staff reporter
Those attending the monthly meeting of the Northshore Chamber of Commerce last Tuesday heard an upbeat presentation on the Lakepointe project in Kenmore. Michael Gleason, project consultant with Pacific Rim Equities, opened his remarks with the assurance that it will happen.
"LakePointe will be built, with groundbreaking probably about one year from today," he said.
This was welcome news to the attendees who were presented a narrated slide presentation overview of the project. Accompanying Gleason in the program was architect John Hoffman of Callison Architects.
Gleason described the mixed-use residential and commercial development as an exciting concept which could "provide homes, work, entertainment and recreation options for residents in one location."
He compared Lakepointe to Carillon Point in Kirkland, but noted that the blend of amenities including an amphitheatre, restaurants, boutiques, marina, esplanade and generous open spaces would make LakePointe truly unique. He added that the location adjacent to Kenmore Air Harbor would be a real asset, and that they will work closely to assure they are "good neighbors" to the long established Kenmore landmark.
Receiving a warm response from the audience of business and professional people was the projected impact of the $300 million plus development on the community. Gleason estimated that the assessed valuation of the project upon completion will represent about twenty-five percent of the total for Kenmore. In addition, it is estimated that the complex will generate approximately $35 million in economic activity annually.
Gleason applauded the work of the LakePointe Task Force appointed by King County Council member Maggi Fimia two and a half years ago. He said the task force, comprised of local citizens, has had considerable input in the development of the project and has given useful feedback on issues impacting the community.
Hoffman pointed out some of the design challenges as well as architectural assets of the project. "From an architect's standpoint, LakePointe presents a great opportunity to design and build a quality project, and we are not going to squander it," he said.
Hoffman also said the aim is to "break it into different architectural styles which will reflect Northwest values." He cautioned those viewing the scale model to not assume the project will look exactly as depicted, but rather that it will reflect more architectural diversity.
At the same time the presentation was being made at the chamber meeting, Kenmore City Council staff members were meeting with King County officials to work on the permitting process for LakePointe, the most daunting of which is the Transportation Mitigation Agreement (TMA).
When reminded of the TMA challenge, Gleason predicted that the permits necessary to leap the final hurdle in this project should be issued by the end of the month.
Again referring to Carillon Point, he reminded the audience that that project also had dealt with similar issues and today is recogized as an outstanding development and an asset to the whole community.
However, in a June 29 letter to King County Executive Ron Sims from Kenmore Interim City Manager Steve Anderson, the task for permit approval appears to be rather formidable. Anderson outlined no less than eighteen items which he says the City Council would like to have included in the TMA. Those items deal primarly with financial obligation issues but also address traffic impact, right-of-way and maintenance matters. One item speaks specifically to the need for a "fair share" contribution from the developer for the projects resulting from a SR 522 study currently underway.
"Given the important role that the City of Kenmore will play in the implementing of this project, it is critical that the city be actively included in the final review of the TMA and the conditions of approval of the Commercial Site Development Permit," Anderson emphasized.
With official incorporation of the City of Kenmore on August 31, the LakePointe project falls fully within the jurisdiction of the city.
Upon returning from the meetings with county staff, Interim Community Developer Director Gregg Dohrn sounded cautiously optimistic. He said the cooperation received from the developer has been very good, and the discussions with the county in regard to permits and related matters is "getting better."
He reiterated the City Council's support of the project. But he said, "In representing the council and the Kenmore community in these discussions, we must ask the tough questions and clearly understand the answers in order to assure that no financial obligations or other commitments will be incurred that will burden the City of Kenmore in the future." He echoed the closing statement in Anderson's letter to Sims when he said, "We look forward to addressing the issues which lead to making this project successful."