By Bob McChesney, Executive Director
The Port of Edmonds
The mission—and strategic plan—of the Port of Edmonds is rooted in the concept of economic development. Locally, this means jobs and an enhanced tax base within the Port District, which includes much of Edmonds and the Town of Woodway. A good example of how economic development can work is Harbor Square.
The key to economic development is attracting private business investment, and that’s exactly what is happening there.
The Port-owned business park is a mixed-use development comprising a wide variety of businesses. Harbor Square’s tenants include a restaurant, professional offices, hair salon, small-scale manufacturing and warehousing. Plus there is a very nice hotel and what is quite possibly the best privately owned athletic club in south Snohomish county.
Recently—with technical assistance and support from the City of Edmonds—the Port signed long-term leases with two craft breweries: Gallagher’s Where-U-Brew and American Brewing Company, which will be doing business as the Breakaway Brewery.
That two similar businesses signed leases within days of one another is just a coincidence. The two have no relationship other than that they are both brewers. Neither producer plans to operate a restaurant or pub in conjunction with their brew operations. At least, they say, for the time being anyway.
And that is pretty much where the similarities end. Gallagher’s is already an established Edmonds business, having operated for many years out of a much smaller space in the Dayton Place shopping complex at 5th and Dayton. Owner Dennis Gallagher describes his business as primarily a place where people can brew their own beers and ales. He expects to continue to have a limited amount of their private label brews available for sale.
American Brewing, on the other hand, is brand new and is expected to open in mid-January. Owner Neil Fallon says that their Breakaway IPA will be available at their Harbor Square tasting room and at a limited number of local retailers. He speaks highly of their brewmaster, who has been head brewer at the Boundary Bay Brewery in Bellingham and Watershed Brewing in Port Townsend.
The Port of Edmonds is currently in the process of master planning the Harbor Square Business Park for future redevelopment. The plan concept will include mixed use, open space, public access and marsh improvements. The brewing facilities will fit in nicely, and additional new tenants will be identified as market conditions improve. Harbor Square’s redevelopment is a process that anticipates economic development and will redefine the property over several years.
Meanwhile, the Harbor square facilities are doing well and are increasingly becoming the location of choice for new and expanding businesses. American Brewing and Gallagher’s are just two examples of that. The Port of Edmonds welcomes them. They help to show just how well local economic development can work.