KENMORE, Wash. — A development on Lake Washington that has been in the works for three decades has taken a major step forward.
The city of Kenmore’s Lakepointe development project that aims to transform the north end of Lake Washington has a developer on board.
The nearly 50-acre plot of land has presented many challenges and has largely remained undeveloped for decades.
Now, a local company, Weidner and Associates, is planning an investment of $1 billion into the development, which could include new roads to connect the waterfront to the city of Kenmore, potentially a small waterfront amphitheater, restaurants, retail and residential housing units.
“We love Kenmore,” said lifelong resident Dustin Shatto.
Dustin and Sarah Shatto recently bought their first home in Kenmore.
Dustin Shatto said he’s very familiar with the Lakepointe development project and has heard about it for as long as he can remember.
“The fact that they’ve been talking about it for 28 years, I’m hesitant to buy into it,” said Dustin Shatto. He says he’s split between hesitation and excitement for what could be a major attraction for young families like his.
"It would be so cool to see. The last place we lived was Green Lake and to have everything so close and restaurants and things that are open a little later, past 8 o'clock, it just would be nice to have that kind of livelihood here in Kenmore,” said Sarah Shatto.
Kenmore became a city in 1998. Talk of livening up the area has been going on long before then.
"It's been going on since the late '80s,” said Kenmore Mayor David Baker.
Baker says the city would like to see the nearly 50 acres of largely undeveloped waterfront land turned into something more vibrant.
"People really want to see it happen, but it has got to be done the right way,” said Baker.
A focus on the right way rather than quick development has meant a dozen developers have come and gone since the early 1990s.
Now, Weidner and Associates has taken on the project. The company’s land development director, Kyran Hynes, says they’ve been familiar with this plot of land for years. He says the space is prime with potential.
"You can see some pretty fantastic sight opportunities here. You've got just incredible waterfront,” said Hynes.
Building on that waterfront has its challenges. The plot is a former landfill site with unstable soil and marsh land.
Concrete plants and storage for building materials surround the area.
"The site itself doesn't have connections to the road network. It doesn't have utilities and all the infrastructure that needs to be in place to support vertical development,” said Hynes.
Busy Bothell Way is also right behind the site with no roads currently connecting the city to the project site.
Baker says they’ve been working with WSDOT to conduct traffic studies and better understand how to connect the city to its waterfront as the Lakepointe project moves forward.
Hynes says the development would be phased in over several years.
Community attractions would surround the nearly mile-long shoreline.
"Potentially a small amphitheater,” said Hynes, talking about an idea they are considering.
Other ideas include giant colorful sails over gathering spaces to create public areas that can be useful even in the rain.
A hovering overpass like one in the Netherlands is being floated as a potential idea to look into as the city works with Weidner and Associates as well as WSDOT to create better roadways in the area.
Retail, restaurants and residential housing units are also in the plans.
"At the very earliest we're three years away from putting a shovel in the ground,” said Hynes.
He added their goal is to create a development that fits in well with the community and they'll be holding many public meetings to gather input from the community on what they want to see at Lakepointe.
Lakepointe is a place where the Shattos hope to take their baby son Jackson someday.
"For us, being at this stage of life, it sounds really fun,” said Dustin Shatto. "I think it's time for Kenmore to make an investment like this."
Hynes said it’s not unusual for a project of this scale to take at least 10 years to fully complete. He adds they don’t have a date set for completion and it’s not unusual for that to change as they dig and discover what they are working with to build on.
Hynes says the project will be completed in phases and one- to three-year chunks of the project will mean the public will have access to parts of the development as the project moves forward within that 10-year estimated timeline.