The 20,000 Foot View

Ready?  Here we go, rapid-fire bullet points, my fave:

  • Arleana's at 312 Central Way is open! I haven't been to experience this Carribean-style cuisine yet, so please share your experience if you've been. Only a few Yelp reviews so far.
  • L and L Animal Urgent Care opened in Houghton across from Met Market, and Veterinarian/Owner Stephanie Stoegbauer is focused on helping pets and supporting vets by bridging the gap between general practice and emergency rooms. More on her story here.
  • EarthDayKU2023
    Earth Day at Kirkland Urban i
    s 4/19 from 4-6 pm (free) where you can recycle your electronics and styrofoam and also learn about ForestNation and enjoy a free tree planting kit. #PlantwithKU. 
  • IMG_4738(1)
    See's Candies
    is open at the Village at Totem Lake. Their grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting starts Sat 4/22 at 10:30am.  Expect FREE SAMPLES, raffles and special gifts with purchases.  Sweet!
  • After 40 amazing years, Penny Sweet and Larry Springer have transitioned ownership of The Grape Choice to longtime manager Desirae Ballard.  A sendoff and celebration will be at The Grape on 4/29.  Follow here for updates and congrats to Des, Penny, and Larry're always a fave place for a glass of wine on the patio!
  • A "Pedestrian Scramble" will transform our main intersection at Lake St and Kirkland Ave with a required 8-week closure expected in late July (yes you read that correctly). Questions? There's a meeting on 4/24 at 9am in City Hall's Council Chambers to chime in and learn more.

No More Frosty for You

Isn't that what they're called? The icy milkshake that people used to line up for at the Wendy's drive through to accompany their square burger?  A teen favorite for sure, their location on the corner of Central and 3rd St is closed and fenced to make room for a (nother) new mixed use building.  There will be 70 new apartments above with a Bartell Drugs, where you can buy some TUMS for all those square burgers you ate,  below in the 16,400 sf of commercial space.  And of course, 185 parking spaces. 

On another note, I have asked the weatherman to keep snow out of our forecast.  When I looked out the window to falling flakes this morning I started having Snowmageddon PTSD symptoms- difficulty getting out of bed followed by frantically pushing my kids out the door to school and bolting the door behind them.

Exciting Updates to our Cross Kirkland Corridor

Pavilion with signs
The Rotary Club of Kirkland
has developed a collection of projects to be installed at the midpoint of the Cross Kirkland Corridor, at the site of the former Northern Pacific Railroad.  The centerpiece will be a Picnic Pavilion with picnic tables and illustrated signage describing the railroad's 100+ year history in Kirkland, with old photographs of trains and the two structures that once stood on the site.  Also included will be a 60-foot section of original rails, a native plants area illustrating original vegetation along the corridor, a railroad crossing sign, and split-rail fencing.  A detailed timeline and photos can be found here.

Clearing-work-party-4-9-18-with-Rotarians-845x475 <-thx volunteers for clearing invasive plants in preparation for the native plant garden
The Kirkland Parks Foundation has approved sponsorship of the Native Plants Garden and fencing and is currently raising funding - but they are only 13% funded so far on their $3500 goal- Do you use the CKC often? Would you like to help support this project?  Here is the link to help make it happen.   


Milagro Closed, what's the plan?

Milagrobar <- pic of the original Milagro bar from 2010

has CLOSED, which has everyone buzzing with panic about the fate of longstanding Hector's.  Continental Properties bought 3 big parcels of our downtown (Hector's buildling, Milagro building, parking/empty lot in between),  back in May for a cool $44M.  From what I hear, unofficially, Hector's is supposed to stay open.  So you can still go get my favorite Protein Power breakfast and breathe a sign of relief, at least for now.  Or perhaps  a stiff drink at the bar to accompany a football game sounds better? Continental also developed the recently completed Main St apartments and a few others around town including the Capri Apartments on Central Way.  So- perhaps they like Kirkland? We hope so now that they have some treasured real estate in the heart of our downtown.

What would YOU like to see in that space? (under the inevitable apartments) 

Rose Hill's Mixed Use Project

Kirkland may be growing faster than my teenagers this year!  Which is likely why somebody wants to  put another grocery store in town- they must have seen the stats on my kids' food and milk consumption.  Turns out we've all been so enamored with Kirkland Urban and The Village at Totem Lake that some of us may not have noticed the proposal for a mixed-use project in Rose Hill. Thank you, avid blog reader and awesome super spy, Kim B., for the tip! 

The proposed site is on NE 85th St and 120th Ave NE, where the not-so-easy on the eyes shopping center that includes Petco, the Dollar Store and Outback is right now.  This property also stretches back to the auxiliary Costco parking lot, but does not include our beloved beige argyle U-Haul. Check out the proposal and conceptual drawings (pages 9 and 25 are good ones to skip to). With over 1 million GSF, this project will include multi-family residential (apartments), commercial/retail, and structured parking. The plans also mentions it will likely offer a grocery, a pharmacy, misc retail/commercial and a restaurant.  Public plazas, pedestrian corridors and plenty of landscaping are also on the promise list. Take a look. What do you think? 

Totem Lake- can you feel it?

If you want to know what it feels like to be an eagle soaring through the new Village at Totem Lake that's under development,  click here for the YouTube video.  The virtual reality of the sunshine in there is just a bonus. Hopefully said eagle does not take aim upon any of those very fancy cars in the parking lot. 

Let us know what you think!  I'm super excited for a movie theater close by again.

The Houghton Buzz

Houghton Everest Neighborhood Center Map 2016 (photo from

Everyone is talking about it.  You've probably heard the chatter around town about the potential land use and zoning changes being considered at the Houghton Everest Neighborhood Center.  That's the fancy name for the big intersection at 6th and NE 68th St where you'll find Met Market and PCC. There's a public hearing tonight (Thursday 3/23) at City Hall 6-7 Open House, 7pm is the open hearing. There are three scenarios being considered which are the 'Preservation', 'Moderate Change', and 'Greater Change' options.  There are already plenty of citizen concerns around traffic/congestion, schools that are already maxed out, the impact on the Cross Kirkland Trail, and also how the combination of development here would fare with the Kirkland Urban project that is still underway just down the street.

Get up to speed here and if you have feedback, get involved!

PS- Speaking of traffic, there's an "Eastside March for Justice" this Sat 3/25 going from Houghton Beach Park (9:30) to Marina Park (speakers until 1pm). So if you're not participating you may want to sleep in or drive the long way around. :-)

Coolness for the Trail



Next time you are on the Cross Kirkland Corridor, keep your eyes peeled for the image of this little red kite along your way.  With support from Google and the City, the Kirkland Parks Foundation has created an interactive educational experience for anyone traveling along the corridor with a smart phone.  If you left your phone at home and are taking deep breaths and looking up at the sky and trees, then that's pretty awesome.  But let's face it, we live in a connected world. 

As people walk, bike or run the trail, information highlighting points of interest about the CKC Master Plan is available via the “New&Now” app. The app uses geo-fencing to deliver information to users and is available for iOS and Android. The signs along the corridor show where these “beacons” are located - they stretch along the trail from 108th Ave NE to 132nd Ave NE .

This is the first phase of the beacons.  The Kirkland Parks Foundation is looking for input from the community and partners to shape the next phase. The possibilities are endless, from historical information, or facts about local wildlife (including bird calls!), or setting up STEM-related games for kids, or working with a trainer to set up a series of exercise stations along the pathway.  What do you want to see?  Help shape the direction of the project by giving your feedback.

"We want the section of the CKC near Google to be a great place for neighbors and the community at large”, said Darcy Nothnagle, Western Region Head of External Affairs for Google. "This project with the Kirkland Parks Foundation has the potential to give our neighbors new ways to explore this vibrant corridor".

Kirkland Urban Ground Breaking Celebration

There were lots of crisp suits and big smiles at the Kirkland Urban ground-breaking ceremony. With the grumble of bulldozers working in the backdrop, Bill Pollard (photo), Managing Partner at Talon Private Capital, kicked off the announcements and thank you's by acknowledging how unique Kirkland is and how important it was to develop something authentic and true to Kirkland's heart and soul.   He mentioned they had 42 meetings with our neighborhoods, and each had something to contribute that will be part of this project's finished product. Mayor Amy Walen emphasized how this is a live-work-play project that will create housing, jobs and entertainment. Then Kirkland City officials and council members had an opportunity to toss some dirt around with the Talon, Prudential and Ryan Company executives and anyone else that wanted to grab the big shovels.  

So who will we see coming to K-Town?  Large/Early adopters are: QFC (one like we've never seen), Wave, Tableau and iPic Entertainment. We should expect about 12-16 restaurants/bars/coffee/food and bev places.  Here's who is committed: Tutta Bella, Purple/New Heavy Group Concept, Evergreen's Salads, Duke's Chowder House, Caffe Ladro.  Community providers for Kirkland Urban so far are: Homestreet Bank, Bright Horizons and All the Best  Petcare.  

It's Good to be Back

Positano <-- a slice of heaven.. where they take 2 hr lunches and dance on the beaches w/Aperol Spritzs in hand.... just b/c they can

Special thanks to guest bloggers Laura Caroline Gingrich and Lisa Thoms for helping cover the Kirkland Blog while I was out town.  Our family went on an extended vacation to Europe this summer and we are struggling to get back to reality. A crazy thing happens when you are gone for more than a week or two----it's called RELAXATION.  And I'd highly recommend it. True relaxation...the kind where your mind gets de-cluttered of all the everyday tasks and stresses and your biggest concern is which fabulous untaxed non-headache-inducing $10 Euro bottle of wine to order with dinner that night.  We absorbed the culture and pace of the places we visited by slowing down and exploring our surroundings, trying new foods, be-friending the locals, breathing deep,  laughing more.  

This is all fantastic until you come home and have to hit the ground running.  I am not complaining, however, we Americans are so focused, hard-working and efficient I am having trouble re-calibrating.  Despite the joy of sleeping in our own beds, the Rabuchin house started the week with a plumbing emergency and exhausted/cranky back-to-school kiddos whose feet suddenly seem to be bigger than mine and require immediate shoe upgrades. Steve is back to working 29 hours a day. Throw in a bunch of sports teams, a crate of mail to get through, some event planning, a mini family crisis, and I feel like a running-back with broken legs that just got thrown back in the game.  I was mildly comforted at the gym the other day when I walked into the locker room and discovered that someone had left the faucet running, and there was nobody in sight.  So it's not just me who can't quite get it together.  Whew.  How's your Sept going?

There are so many fun things coming up that I need to catch you up on....Vintimate at The Heathman 9/15, Kirkland Home Tour 9/17, Porsche event at Carillon Point 9/18, Oktoberfest 9/23-25, Little Brother (did they do a soft opening while I was gone?), and even a new bookstore. More on that this week.

IMG_9706  -Beam me up, Scotty

For now I am going to leave you with this photo.  I was amazed to see how much demo work had taken place at Kirkland Urban while we were out of town.  It appears that I snapped this picture at the very moment that the old Kirkland Park Place's soul was being beamed up to heaven.  And here is the old Starbucks location reduced to a mini mountain of dust. It will be fun to watch this new space take shape.