The City has purchased the Houghton Village Shopping Center to support a variety of potential public purposes, such as affordable housing, school space, non-profit program space, arts and cultural space, and City recreational program space. The City Council is seeking community input on how the City can best achieve these public benefits and also create a thriving, walkable, sustainable retail development.
The Houghton Village Shopping Center, located at 10702 NE 68th Street in Kirkland, offers the City a strategic opportunity to accomplish multiple important community benefits all within a walkable ten-minute neighborhood with frequent transit service.
The need for affordable housing, school capacity, and non-profit space has long been known in Kirkland. The community needs and benefits analysis performed for the NE 85th Station Area Plan affirmed how critical it is to address these needs. Redeveloping Houghton Village to accomplish these public benefits is an exciting opportunity for the community.
The Houghton Village property is currently under-developed. Existing zoning regulations for the site already allow for more intensive development than exists today, especially if housing is included. The Council is considering the potential to create a master plan as allowed by the current zoning to create a five-story mixed use building to accomplish these public purposes. Redeveloping the property provides an opportunity to increase the number of retail shops and jobs in this location and provide housing on-site. A redevelopment will enhance the vibrancy of our community by providing a mixture of options to live and work near neighborhood businesses and services. Potential benefits of redeveloping the site include, but are not limited to, affordable housing, school capacity, non-profit program space, arts and cultural space, and City recreational program space.
The City must decide within the next two years on how to develop the property. Before making final decisions on how to develop the property, the City will continue seeking input and dialogue with the community. City staff provided a preliminary update to the City Council in May 2023 and presented all the feedback received to date. Council directed staff to continue engagement with the community, with a specific focus on conversations with adjacent property owners, higher education partners like Northwest University and Lake Washington Institute of Technology, and the Lake Washington School District.
Community members can provide feedback and stay engaged with the entire process by continuing to visit this webpage.
Frequently Asked Questions
This section will be continuously updated during this process.
What is the Houghton Village and how much did it cost?
The Houghton Village is a 29,657 square foot shopping center that sits on a 95,656 square foot property. The City purchased this property for $14 million. The property is the former home to a PCC Community Market, as well as several restaurants, retail stores, and professional offices.
Why was Houghton Village purchased?
Purchasing this property offered the City a strategic opportunity to accomplish multiple important community benefits in a walkable ten-minute neighborhood with frequent transit service.
How will the Houghton Village property be used?
Future uses of the property are currently guided by Policy EV-10 in the Everest Neighborhood Plan (a chapter in the City’s Comprehensive Plan). That policy calls for the development of a mixed-use neighborhood center in the area that provides goods and services to the local community. With a Master Plan adopted by City Council, building heights could extend up to five stories (from the currently allowed three stories), assuming the Houghton Village property is consolidated with the commercial property to the east, traffic mitigation is provided, and neighborhood-serving retail uses are developed. Potential benefits of redeveloping the site with a mixture of uses include, but are not limited to, affordable and market-rate housing, non-profit program space, arts and cultural space, local-serving retail space, and City recreational program space. As included in R-5543, the Council does not intend on using this property for permanent supportive housing.
These benefits would support several Council Goals, including Attainable Housing; Inclusive and Equitable Community; Vibrant Neighborhoods; Supportive Human Services; and Abundant Parks, Open Spaces & Recreational Services. With ownership and site control, the City would have the maximum flexibility to accomplish these priority community outcomes. Development would likely occur under a public-private partnership, a collaboration where the City enters into a relationship with a private and/or non-profit developer that can be used to finance, build, and operate the project while meeting the objectives established by the City.
What are some examples of Public Private Partnerships?
Here are a few examples of a Public Private Partnership:
12th Avenue Arts
- 88 affordable apartments
- 8 studio, 72 one bedroom, 8 two bedrooms; dishwasher in-unit, shared laundry on every floor
- 60% AMI
- Resident Services, community patios, shared courtyard, resident lounge
- 1st floor: two theaters, retail stores, and restaurants
- 2nd floor: add’l commercial space and main offices of Community Roots Housing
City of Issaquah - Transit-Oriented Development Project
- King County Housing Authority is the developer (did RFQ to select a developer)
- At least 155 units of affordable rental residential units, serving individuals and families from 40-60% AMI
- 185 units of market-rate residential units
- RFP for the City-owned space: Health Point was chosen
- The project also received $2 or $3M from the state for behavioral health services (Health Point partners with Valley Cities for behavioral health services)
- The project did receive $10M from the county’s TOD fund
- Up to 35,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space
South Kirkland Park and Ride Project
- This project has the benefit of having a mix of market-rate and affordable housing (although no public on-site social services or meaningful retail).
- Partners with several agencies to bring in additional services not offered by case management staff as well.
The Together Center
- Located in downtown Redmond, the three-building complex was remodeled and currently provides offices and services space for over twenty agencies
- The center addresses multiple needs of clients, helps overcome transportation barriers and provides the community with a rich mix of services all in one location.
- From medical and dental care, to behavioral health and substance abuse management, to disability services and child care resources, to job training and many others in one location
- Three blocks from the Redmond Transit Center and five blocks from the future Light Rail station;
How is "Affordable Housing" and area median income (AMI) defined?
City of Kirkland’s Zoning Code definition of Affordable Housing Unit:
1. An owner-occupied dwelling unit reserved for occupancy by eligible households and affordable to households whose household annual income does not exceed the following percent of the King County median household income, adjusted for household size, as determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and no more than 30 percent of the monthly household income is paid for monthly housing expenses (mortgage and mortgage insurance, property taxes, property insurance and homeowners’ dues):
a. Eighty percent in the CBD 5A, RH, TL, HENC 2, and PLA 5C zoning districts and for Transit Oriented Development in the PR 1.8 zone; or
b. One hundred percent in density limited zoning districts.
2. A renter-occupied dwelling unit reserved for occupancy by eligible households and affordable to households whose household annual income does not exceed 50 percent of the King County median household income, adjusted for household size, as determined by HUD, and no more than 30 percent of the monthly household income is paid for monthly housing expenses (rent and an appropriate utility allowance).
In the event that HUD no longer publishes median income figures for King County, the City may use any other method for determining the King County median income, adjusted for household size.
Area Medium Income (AMI) for King County can be found here on the ARCH (A Regional Coalition for Housing) website.
What is a REET tax?
Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) consists of two 0.25% excise taxes levied by the City against real estate sales (referred to as REET 1 and REET 2, for a total of 0.5%). They are both designated for capital projects listed in the City’s capital facilities plan and have different restrictions as determined by the legislature. Although REET is a primary capital revenue used to fund the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP), it is highly sensitive to the housing and commercial real estate markets making it difficult to forecast long-term.
REET 1 has broader defined uses in RCW 82.46.010(6)(b) and can be used for, “streets; roads; highways; sidewalks; street and road lighting systems; traffic signals; bridges; domestic water systems; storm and sanitary sewer systems; parks; recreational facilities; law enforcement facilities; fire protection facilities; trails; libraries; administrative facilities, judicial facilities, river flood control projects […] and technology infrastructure that is integral to the capital project.”
REET 2 has similar but slightly narrower restrictions as defined by RCW 82.46.035(5), including use on, “streets, roads, highways, sidewalks, street and road lighting systems, traffic signals, bridges, domestic water systems, storm and sanitary sewer systems.” Notably, while REET 2 can be used on the improvement, construction, repair, planning, or rehabilitation of parks, it cannot be used for parks acquisition. Finally, until 2026, REET 2 can be used in a limited way on “facilities for those experiencing homelessness and affordable housing projects,” which the City has utilized to fund an A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH) project in Kirkland in the 2023-28 CIP.
The City of Kirkland has traditionally been more restrictive with REET 2, using it only for Transportation and Affordable Housing.