John Corrado, who works at Windermere Real Estate in Woodinville, has been at the helm of many major deals over the past 20 years. He is responsible for selling the 42 acres of land that Top Food and Target now anchor to TRF and orchestrating the entire lease for the White Stallion complex.
Additionally he sold the land next to City Hall to Brittany Park.
And then there’s the property that City Hall occupies, which he sold to the City of Woodinville. One of his most recent deals was selling the property and arranging for a 15-year lease with Evergreen Hospital for its new clinic.
Corrado is a great promoter of the town and takes his role seriously.
"My aim, first and foremost, is to encourage businesses to come to Woodinville," he says. "This is a great community, a good place to live and raise kids. It’s a real family-friendly town. But, we don’t have enough retail for residents or to attract people from other places to come and shop here." He adds, "Woodinville has one of the highest per capita incomes in the state. The disposable income is here, but it’s being spent outside the community. In order to keep it here locally, we need more desirable stores – more medium to large-sized retailers."
The problem, according to Corrado, is that there’s not enough land available for this size of retailers to build their stores. He says there’s plenty of interest from a number of businesses who would like to get into Woodinville, but they can’t find the space that meets their criteria at present.
"Businesses know that Woodinville has something no other community in the state has," comments Corrado. "We are the recognized home for the winery business. We are the winery capital of the Northwest. People come to this area, wanting to tour the wineries and they want to spend time here, eat a good meal, shop and maybe stay the night in a hotel nearby. We need to be able to offer these options."
Corrado notes that some of the wineries in town want to build bigger tasting rooms, in the style of a chateau.
He explains that their interest is in creating tasteful structures, not concrete blocks.
A man accustomed to speaking his opinion, Corrado doesn’t mince words when he expresses his frustration with the city.
"We’re going backwards," he says. "The city needs to work harder to generate more business and it needs to work in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce to promote growth in Woodinville. Without growth, Woodinville will deteriorate."
He points to the substantial decrease in city services that have come as a result of staff cuts.
"This does not present a favorable appearance to prospective business owners," he adds. "They see this and they don’t have a positive impression." Corrado emphasizes that in order for Woodinville to become self-sufficient once again, it needs to generate more tax revenue. Unfortunately, it is in competition with surrounding communities, like Bothell, to attract businesses to the area.
He says, "The City of Bothell has a very nice master plan that will result in bringing a lot of business to its town. We don’t have this here in Woodinville because we don’t have a business-minded community. And the problem goes further because most of the business owners who are here don’t live within the city limits, which means they can’t vote on matters that concern them."
In Corrado’s opinion, most of the members of the City Council espouse a "no growth" philosophy when it comes to Woodinville. He feels that the Council should pay more attention to the problems of small business and commercial property owners and work in their best interests because they are essential to the economic health of the city.
"They have to pay attention in order for Woodinville to get back on its financial feet," he adds. "There are some truly genuine people here who really care about our city and many who want to see it succeed. But, it’s going to take everyone working together to promote Woodinville as a viable place to do business."