The City of Kenmore is inching closer to seeing one of its long-term goals come true.
Kenmore’s Hangar Building has been in the works for years, since the incorporation of Kenmore as a city in 1998 and the development of a downtown plan in 2003. The downtown plan included a new city hall building, a new library and the creation of a community center, with the Hangar filling the latter void and the first two already accomplished.
The city recently signed a six-year lease with Diva Espresso to operate a cafe inside the hangar, where they will serve coffee, beer, wine, other beverages, baked goods, sandwiches, ice cream and other food items.
“Coffee’s our focus, but we have, over the years, done more food items,” Greg Hamper, owner of Diva Espresso, said. The business has seven locations in the Seattle area.
“Signing this agreement with Diva Espresso is the latest in a series of significant steps we’ve taken over the last several years to move forward with the community’s vision for downtown Kenmore,” Mayor David Baker said in a release. “Diva Espresso’s local brand is a great fit for our city’s newest hangout space. Their presence in the Hangar Building will help to shape the warm and inviting atmosphere we envision for the space.”
In addition to the 1,200 square feet filled by Diva Espresso, the rest of the 4,500-square-foot building will include a two-sided fireplace with comfy chairs, tables and chairs for members of the public to utilize, a multi-purpose room and restrooms.
“This is our version of a community center — it’s not traditional,” Kenmore City Manager Rob Karlinsey said. “This is more like a year-round living room for the community, a community gathering space.”
The space will be available for the public to reserve for free, and Kenmore Community Relations Manager Leslie Harris is planning a variety of events, including movie nights.
“We are going to activate the space,” she said.
The indoor space is part of the larger Town Square, located on the northwest corner of 68th Avenue NE and NE 181st Street, across from Kenmore City Hall. The square includes hot rocks, bench seating and a spray park.
Part of the Hangar’s windowed wall opens to allow easy access between the building and the square.
“(The city is) so interested in developing this as a center for the community,” Hamper said of Diva Espresso’s interest in being part of the development. “It became evident that we were going to get a lot of attention.”
In total, the Town Square and Hangar project is budgeted at $4.5 million, and Karlinsey said the project is within the budget despite delays. The building was originally slated to open in October but is now on track for a May or June opening.
Most of the money for the project came from the sale of the surrounding properties, with some coming from the city’s general fund, Karlinsey said. With the help of local legislators Jessyn Farrell, Gerry Pollet and David Frockt, the city also received a $300,000 grant from the state for the project.
The city plans to host a #WhyILoveKenmore grand opening event on June 24 at the Hangar. Hamper said Diva Espresso should be open near the end of May or beginning of June.