The new owners of Salish Crossing, the former Safeway store near the Edmonds waterfront that now houses the Waterfront Antique Mall, have strong community ties and are looking to provide some long-term stability and improvements to the property.
Echelbarger Fund Management, the parent of Salish Crossing LLC, is run by members of the Echelbarger family, which has a long history in the Lynnwood/Edmonds area. Nick Echelbarger, head of Salish Crossing LLC, expressed the company’s desire to make improvements the without changing the character of Edmonds.
“My great great grandmother lived in Edmonds until she died in 1918 at her house on Sunset Avenue,” said Lindsey Echelbarger, Nick’s father, noting that his own father (and Nick’s grandfather), Dean, still lives in Edmonds in one of the first condominiums built here in 1973.
With such a family history there is no desire to tear down the existing structure and build a new complex. “We are real estate investors, looking to improve the property and hold it for a long time, rather than trying to develop the property for a quick turnaround and sale,” Nick Echelbarger said.
The younger Echelbarger said he was surprised by the condition of the building. “The structure itself is in excellent shape and the majority of the updates will be cosmetic,” he said.
What will change soon will be improvements to the parking area, both in terms of the asphalt itself and some landscaping improvements. A new cornerstone will be added to the property, utilizing the 1909-era portico from the original Edmonds High School, which was saved from the landfill by Lindsey Echelbarger when the Edmonds Center for the Arts was remodeled. The building will also be treated to new paint and lighting.
The plan is to take the portico and place it as an entryway monument to the site on the southeast corner. Improvements to the parking lot, including fixing the pavement, adding planting areas and improved pedestrian access are all in the works.
The antique merchants — which do a thriving business — will stay, receiving the benefit of the upgraded facilities. (One merchant leases the entire space and then sublets to the individual merchants.)
The Echelbargers would also like to capitalize on the property’s location, adjacent to both ferry and rail terminals, to attract new, more upscale tenants to serve commuters. “We want to work with both the Sound Transit and Washington State Ferries to improve access to the property while commuters wait. We know that the location is one of the entryways to the community,” Nick Echelbarger said.
Their efforts in this area have already paid off with the recent successful negotiations with Sound Transit to provide additional parking for train riders in the Salish Crossing lot.
The family is working closely with the city and neighbors to transform the site “into a positive addition to the community,” Echelbarger said. “We have received many suggestions on what other people think they should do with the property, for example making it a location for our year-round market or adding a bowling alley, but a long-term plan needs to be developed before any major changes are undertaken. We have signed on a very good broker who has worked with us in the past acquiring quality tenants for other properties.”
— By Harry Gatjens