The Edwards Agency

Local News

Downtown prophecy realized

downtown prophecy by Jeff Switzer
As Lowell DeYoung said it would happen 13 years ago, the last of the houses along Woodinville's main street, NE 175th, have been either moved or demolished as they make room for streetfront shops, new grid roads, and a 44-acre shopping center.
   The face and function of downtown Woodinville changed significantly in 1996. Two of the last three large undeveloped parcels within the city limits are striving for their "highest and best use" as commercial land: The TRF-Pacific retail project, and dense senior housing on the South Bypass with Brittany Park.
   The last parcel to develop, about 25 acres located east of 140th Avenue NE just before Woodinville-Snohomish Road, was recently redesignated office and medium density in the city's comprehensive plan, a change which will be implemented next year in the zoning code.
   And the TRF project is on the fast track, as anyone driving by the site will have noticed. In the span of two weeks, 90 percent of the buildings on the nine parcels were demolished, followed closely by clearing and grading. A 12-screen movie theater, Top Foods grocery store and main street shops are slated to open in fall 1997, followed by Target in spring 1998.

Development south of the city
   DeYoung's vision that the "business block would greatly expand, mainly down the valley in the direction of Redmond," has yet to come to fruition, given the urban-rural line, the agricultural land adjacent to the South Bypass and the city limits.
   But the west side of the valley has continued its industrial march, with the addition of Winsome Trading, Inc.'s 160,000-square-foot building (Woodinville's largest) adorned with two five-ton elephants, trunks raised high for good luck. The warehouse, located on SR-202, receives Winsome home furnishings from the entire Pacific Rim for U.S. distribution.
   Keep your eye on the parcel across from the Hollywood Schoolhouse behind Chevron, where Barbara Kelson has assumed the responsibility for three historic buildings: the old house previously on the Molbak's lot and two of the houses on NE 175th Street. She envisions a bed-and-breakfast operation for these buildings, with a long-term plan of developing a Country Village atmosphere in the Tourist District Overlay.

Tourism boosted in the valley
   The Redhook Brewery teamed up with mainstays Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Winery and Molbak's to draw tourists from around the country and world to the tiny hamlet of Woodinville, known to some as Napa Valley North.
   Following suit, SilverLake Winery and Aviator Ales have property and plans near the SR-202/NE 145th Street corner.
   The Chamber of Commerce began its efforts to draw more visitors to Woodinville's wine and ale country, and with funds from the city produced lure brochures, events calendars, and business indices. Their effort continues into 1997 with an additional $55,000 from Woodinville, with the possibility of as much as $82,000.
   Columbia Winery is still the stop for the Dinner Train, and most residents have seen tour buses come and go from each of the attractions on that corner.