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June 28, 2012
Small businesses may buy on 5th Street
EDMONDS, Washington (STPNS) -- A group of Edmonds business owners is forming a business coalition in an attempt to locate other business owners who may be interested in purchasing the Washington Federal Building (formerly the Horizon Bank Building), at 5th and Dayton in Edmonds.
The group is comprised of those businesses presently leasing space in the bank building.
“Washington Federal Bank obtained this building from the FDIC when Horizon Bank failed,” Vicki Dohrmann, owner of Soma Salon & Day Spa, said. “Several investors have put offers on the building, but none have been successful.”
“In one case, the potential owners wanted to lease space to a corporation that needed office space, which meant that my business at this location would have been relocated.
“I have leased space in this building since 1999, and the news that a new owner would want us to relocate was upsetting.”
Keeping more retail space in prime downtown locations is also good for the whole core downtown business area, proponents of the idea argue.
Several of the business owners leasing space in the building got together a few weeks ago to discuss trying to find additional business owners in Edmonds who have wanted to own their own commercial space but do not have millions of dollars to invest in a building.
Dohrmann said they completed initial calculations to evaluate the feasibility of purchasing the building as a group and turning the space into commercial condominiums.
“This would create an opportunity for Edmond’s business owners to purchase a piece of affordable real estate in Edmonds and generate equity,” she said.
“We would also manage the building as a condominium association, and would not have to pay for expensive management fees that are passed along to renters as part of the triple net costs, as is most often the case when you rent commercial space.”
There is a large amount of vacant space in the Washington Federal Building, and the group is looking for established businesses that are interested in purchasing affordable retail or office space in the heart of downtown Edmonds.
There are actually four parcels connected to the bank building, Dohrmann said. Two are parking, the main bank building, and two apartments on top.
The property formerly operated by the banks is around 4,300 square feet, and the space Gallagher’s used to occupy is nearly 3,000 square feet, plus the other shops and the breezeway in the building.
Dohrmann said the apartment rents might be used to pay the association fees for upkeep of the building; another way to keep costs down.
“We feel this is an excellent way to create affordable smaller retail spaces that can be purchased and will be owner occupied,” Dohrmann said.
“We hope to find enough business owners to participate in this project so we can purchase the building and form a non-profit condominium association.”
The larger spaces can de divided into spaces that are more affordable to smaller businesses, possibly down to around 1,000 square feet.
“We think we could make a deal with the bank that could be a solution for everyone,” Dohrmann said. “As owner operators, we could make things work better. We’d be in control of our own destiny.
“I think we could get payments down to comparable or even a little better than rents would be. It’s a great location; we want to stay there for a reason.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the commercial condominium project can contact Dohrmann at 360-379-6994.
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