Bellevue-based senior living company Aegis Living purchased the former Lobsang Dargey property in Kirkland for $10.1 million on Aug. 14.
“I can’t tell you how much we feel lucky to be able to acquire this piece of land,” said Bryon Ziegler, director of development and entitlements with Aegis Senior Communities, LLC. “This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime projects for us. We’re super excited about it.”
The mixed-use development is bringing new life to the property located at the corner of Lake Street South and 10th Avenue in downtown Kirkland.
The Potala Village apartments had been planned for the site — which was formerly owned by Dargey, a Bellevue developer who was recently sentenced to four years in prison for fraud — until the property went into receivership and was sold this month to Aegis. The company has 30 assisted living and memory care communities in Washington, California and Nevada.
The Potala Village project was withdrawn from the Kirkland Design Review Board earlier this year. Aegis had its first meeting with the board Aug. 7 and will meet with the board for a second time this evening at 7 p.m. at Kirkland City Hall, 123 5th Ave.
The proposed four-story project is located at 1006 Lake St. and is in the BN zone, which requires commercial use at the ground floor. It overlooks Lake Washington in the Moss Bay neighborhood, with the Lakeview neighborhood to the south.
Aegis proposed 106 units on the upper two floors with about 2,500 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. There are also 61 underground parking stalls proposed for the project.
The units range from 300- to 900-square-feet studios. Typically, the studios are one-bedroom units with a common area, restroom and kitchenette with a sink and refrigerator. There is no stove as all the cooking for the residents is done in the kitchen on the first floor.
Based off the existing Potala Village plans, Aegis made some tweaks to the designs, including shrinking the total building size and bringing in the building more from the street. At the Design Review Board meeting earlier this month, Aegis proposed three versions for the mixed-use development, favoring the third option.
Ziegler said they are close to approving a final design for the space, adding that Aegis has been working closely with hundreds of neighbors to “start off on the right foot by integrating the comments from the community.”
Ziegler said the neighbors he is hearing from want the space to have “more residential character.” They also want a smaller-scale building built from good materials with a little less retail on the front. And not just any retail — good retail.
That’s not a problem, Ziegler said.
So far, Aegis will bring in Queen Bee, a Seattle-based cafe, to be located at the front of the building with an outdoor patio.
Option three, which Aegis is “really excited” about, has a “signature element” on the northwest corner, where there will be a “beautifully landscaped” courtyard that leads to a piazza featuring a water element, Ziegler said.
“When you drive by this building, we want it to be a ‘wow’ moment,” Ziegler said. “We try to be part of the neighborhood.”
Toward the south there will outdoor seating for the cafe. There will also be a little gift shop. There might also be a sculpture garden, Ziegler said.
At the last Design Review Board meeting, board members asked Aegis to come back with a combination between option two and three, said Angela Ruggeri, Kirkland senior planner.