Ryan Companies, in partnership with Talon Private Capital, transformed an existing, aging shopping area into a vibrant, integrated, one million SF mixed-use center in Kirkland, a suburb of Seattle, WA. This was a complex build, maximizing density on a small parcel with active retail and nearby office buildings, proving to be both complicated and important for our project team and the city of Kirkland. A short walk from Lake Washington and downtown Kirkland, this development includes two high-rise office towers, a residential building, three free-standing retail pavilions, a grocery store and essential below-grade parking.
The team adapted the design and construction to accommodate all tenants, from the existing grocer to office to restaurants to childcare. Each tenant had special requirements that had to be designed, permitted and built to meet their specific demands. Being in the heart of the city also brought unique challenges, from a confined project site to traffic control to keeping neighbors informed of upcoming construction activities. Ensuring the site was safe to the public while coordinating all the various contractor needs required constant communication and collaboration between Ryan and the city of Kirkland. We worked hard to connect and deeply embed ourselves in the community, making sure neighborhood concerns were addressed and the existing campus was accessible during active construction.
Incorporating the best of the waterfront community by combining an authentic, neighborhood feel with an urban energy, Kirkland Urban reflects and celebrates the evolution of the community—balancing the need for growth and economic opportunity without sacrificing its small-town roots. In the end, Ryan delivered a high-quality, mixed-use project in a safe and timely manner.
When the community speaks, we listen.
Kirkland is more than just a picturesque lakefront town—it is home to a tight-knit community rooted in one of the oldest incorporated townships on the east side of Lake Washington. Our earliest conversations with residents revealed a community at a crossroads of liking things the way they were and embracing the changes necessary to revitalize their commercial core. The slightest physical transformations could have a massive impact on how the community lives, works and plays, and we considered this delicate balance in our approach. It was more than an opportunity to revitalize a centralized mixed-use space—it was an opportunity to create a catalyst for economic growth.
We fielded a wide range of concerns from neighborhood groups and the chamber of commerce about the impact of the Kirkland Urban development. The well-being of the Kirkland community was the first consideration in every decision in what would be the largest development the community had seen to-date.
One problem everyone agreed needed solving was parking. Kirkland’s businesses needed more of it to survive, and the community knew more parking was key to enticing visitors and businesses to the area. There was also a strong desire for more clearly-established, aesthetically-inviting community gathering spaces that united commerce and community.
So, we scaled-down the density of the development by 900,000-SF, converting a portion of the building’s office space into a retail podium that sits atop two 8-acre levels of underground parking and abundant commercial spaces.
As one of the numerous open spaces included in the design, we created a centralized, circulating community courtyard for outdoor community events year-round. By folding in the 185 apartments of Kirkland Uptown, we provided a live-work environment to meet the evolving needs of the up-and-coming workforce seeking a space with an amenity-rich campus feel.
Complex challenges are no match for our collective insight.
Before Ryan was engaged to bring out the full potential of this massive, mixed-use marquee site, Kirkland Urban had been passed between developers multiple times in the decade prior. In 2015, PGIM Real Estate recognized the distinct advantage Ryan Companies could bring to the table with our collective insight, values-driven approach and track record of successful delivery on complex projects. PGIM introduced Ryan to Talon Private Capital. From there, the two companies joined forces to co-develop the project, with Ryan providing construction services.
Serving as the connective tissue between design and construction, our Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) team got involved early in the design process to ensure construction documents were coordinated, thorough and modeled accurately to allow for prefabrication and correct detailing. These efforts provided critical expediency, cost-savings and ensured the quality to the construction process from end-to-end.
The project wasn’t without its challenges. We relied heavily on the expertise of local specialists and subcontractors to navigate everything from record-breaking rainfall during the excavation of the 8-acre garage to the 30-feet of fall between property boundaries. As the construction neared completion, our team’s creativity, flexibility and ingenuity was crucial to folding in future tenant and owner design requests while minimizing schedule delays and cost increases.
The Kirkland community needed a values-driven partner they could trust to understand the impact of such a massive project on their small city; one who would be a true steward of their community. Ryan’s track record of excellent delivery, deep partnerships and strong values was definitely in our favor, but we were new players in the Pacific Northwest and we had a lot of trust to earn—and that started with listening. Every member of our team met stakeholder concerns, hopes, requirements and unknowns with an attitude of true collaboration, this brought to bear the breadth of our collective insight and expertise to every interaction and providing frequent, supportive and transparent communication.
As partners, we weren’t just working in the community, we were becoming part of it. Ryan team members moved to the area from around the country and partnered with local talent to create a team deeply invested in Kirkland’s well-being during construction and as stewards of the city’s future. We regularly updated neighbors of upcoming construction activities, limited construction hours to align with city noise preferences, optimized site safety, and worked with the city to ensure smooth traffic control around the site. By delivering such a dynamic space through strong partnerships, we have helped bridge Kirkland’s distinct history and future opportunities—balancing local and national commerce and welcoming major technology companies to find their place in the community.
We’re here for it. Many of the people who worked on Kirkland Urban live, work, volunteer, and play in Kirkland. We’ve also partnered with local nonprofits to fight hunger (Northwest Harvest), provide shelter (Habitat for Humanity), and support local growers (Farmer’s Markets on Saturdays at our office) in the area.
Sustainability is more than a best practice—it’s a way of life.
Stately mountains, lush forests and the idyllic Lake Washington fill the lives of Kirkland residents with natural beauty. And respecting, preserving and enhancing this beauty guided our work. With Kirkland Urban being such a large, centrally-located community hub, stakeholders were deeply concerned about the impact of the development of its surrounding environment, the local quality of life and the bike- and walk-ability of the city.
The Ryan team and the city of Kirkland shared a desire to meet ambitious LEED goals for the project. The two office buildings in Kirkland Urban were designed and built using the best strategies for green building and energy efficiency, earning LEED Gold certification. The team utilized a holistic approach—balancing energy, efficiency, utility, aesthetics and cost to ensure a dynamically-designed, sustainable final product.
We ensured that even the smallest touches of Kirkland Urban encouraged residents to engage more deeply with the city, the environment and each other. Ample parking makes it easy for visitors to explore Kirkland at their leisure, a curb-free canyon plaza between buildings encourages outdoor congregation and events, and all walkways optimize accessibility to local amenities, such as Peter Kirk Park.
The majority of the offices and residential units—including a rooftop patio—present a beautiful view of the lake, giving occupants a constant connection to the natural beauty all around them.
A truly transformative space in every sense, Kirkland Urban is drawing new people and business to the area for its economic opportunities, urban energy and authentic character in equal measure. The community spaces host everything from cultural celebrations to public concerts.
The retail spaces are home to a Kroger flagship grocery store, and local retailers and restaurants next to popular national vendors. In the offices you will find the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce, Wave Broadband (consolidating five separate offices across the area into one) and Google. Kirkland Urban is a massive step forward in the growth of a small Northwestern city—without losing touch with its roots.