Tacoma-based Columbia Bank to open branch on Edmonds Way

An artistic renderings of what the Edmonds branch could look like, courtesy of Columbia Bank.

Tacoma-based Columbia Bank will build a new branch on the now-vacant gravel parking lot just east of the Union 76 gas station/car wash on Edmonds Way.

According to Mark Nelson, the bank’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, the earliest the branch could open would be in late 2012. “We recently acquired two other banks in Snohomish and Skagit counties so right now our attention is focused on getting those into our system,” he said. Those branches — First Heritage in Snohomish and Summit in Burlington — are “part of our strategy to fill out our footprint going north, with Edmonds being a piece of that,” he said.

The branch will employee a minimum of five employees but it could be up to 10, given plans for “additional capabilities on the wealth management and lending side,” he added.

Nelson said that the bank purchased the Edmonds Way property in the busy Westgate area because of its location on a major thoroughfare. The branch will have a drive-through window, but the actual design won’t be finalized until the city permitting process is complete. “It’s in the development stage right now, which will be followed by the application process for a permit,” he said.

4 Replies to “Tacoma-based Columbia Bank to open branch on Edmonds Way”

  1. Glad to hear it. I had done my business banking with Columbia and ALWAYS had exceptional service. I am excited to leave the big corporate Chase behind to jump back to a home state bank once they have a branch in town!


  2. Oh Boy, another bank. Edmonds is 96% developed. So adding a Bank on Edmonds way uses some of the undeveloped land. The bank that will go into the Shell Gas location at Westgate will just redevelop property that is already being used. New banks always ask for a drive through and in some cases that has resulted in some sort of change or variance to the existing code to allow for a drive through. While banks pay property tax they do not sell anything that produces sales tax. We do not have a employee head tax or a B&O tax so we get nothing there. Look at their utility use to see what the city gets in utility taxes. Electricity: do we get any tax revenue if a business uses electricity? Water: we get taxes for that but those taxes are used to pay for the water services and do not support the general fund??? The good news is that their use of water is probably low, they do little to provide public restrooms so water consumption is just for employees. City get taxes or fees from TV and Telephone but only if it is delivered over landlines or cable. No tax on satellite TV or internet. Hopefully the banks buy TV and Telephone from Frontier. That way the city gets some revenues. If the banks use Comcast of VOIP telephone we get no tax revenues.

    So far we get some property tax and a few bucks for utility taxes but no real added revenue for the City and we may have had to give them a variance for a drive through. Here are a couple of ideas
    Rather than granting them a variance for the drive through or anything else they may ask for could we use the Development Agreement Process that has be recommended by the Planning Board and the Economic Development Council to work through the land use issues. The DA requires 2 of 3 criteria to be included by the developer. They can do Green stuff, they can do something the City would like to have that are part of our economic development goals, or the can help with open space. So they could go Green and make a contribution to the “Buy something on the Waterfront Fund” in exchange for the changes or variances to the building codes. At least we would get something for the city for the development.

    The other idea is for Edmonds to develop a “Financial District”. We have the Arts Corridor and facilities. We also have desires to keep the area two blocks in all directions from the fountain as a Retail District. So we would create a Financial District somewhere and over time encourage all the banks and financial planning offices to be collocated. Then we could shop for our free checking and CD’s at a number of banks and financial offices all in one place just like getting a rental car at an airport. No driving around.

    So as the free market moves along and with stalled economy it appears banks are moving forward with expansion plans and all we get is some property tax, and the bank probably pays for the curb cuts for the drive through. At least under a Development Agreement we would get something Green and something from our economic development wish list, or open space funding. Rather than just city business as we have always done it lets all try to put on our thinking caps and see if some of the new ideas coming out of the Planning Board and EDC can make a difference for Edmonds.

    As we look forward in the life of our town we will all get a chance to do some thinking about our future when we get started on the Strategic Planning process in September.


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