It’s been more than a decade in the making, but this Sunday Edmonds’ North Sound Church officially opened and dedicated its North Sound Center at the corner of 4th Avenue and Bell Street during regular worship services.
Formerly the Edmonds Conference Center, the North Sound Church had rented space in the building since 2004 from owner Edmonds Community College. According to Pastor Barry Crane, the church made several inquires over the years about purchasing the building, but the college had no interest in selling. This changed when it was learned that extensive repairs would be needed to mitigate years of water damage, and in late 2014 the college put the building up for sale.
“While we were pleased at the opportunity this afforded, we weren’t the only ones interested in the property,” observed Crane.
In spring 2015 the Church put in a $2.4 million bid to purchase the building, but in June of that year the City of Edmonds submitted a competing bid for $300,000, citing the cost to repair the water damage (see My Edmonds News article here).
“We soon became aware of yet another potential bidder when it came to my attention that Rick Steves was also interested,” said Crane. “I promptly sent off an email to Rick explaining the North Sound Church’s interest in the building and its potential importance as a spiritual center in downtown Edmonds.”
Quoting scripture, Crane added to his email: “Do you know that my boss owns the cattle on a thousand hills?” to which he reports that Steves replied, “Thanks for your note. We have the same boss. I’m not interested in the building.”
While the city briefly considered upping its bid, it ultimately withdrew its offer in July, leaving the way open for North Sound Church to purchase the conference center.
As soon as the deal closed, the church, architect John Taylor, consultant Carol Murray and Ryan Construction got busy planning, designing and renovating the building. Work continued through 2016 and included big changes both outside and inside. Particular attention was paid to the downstairs auditorium, where optimizing acoustics played a major role in driving the design.
More than 430 people attended Sunday’s dedication services, including Mayor Dave Earling and his wife Susan Earling, and Rick Steves and his partner Trish Feaster.
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel