Edmonds’ Main Street Commons at least a year away from opening, McMurray tells Rotary

Developer Mike McMurray studies the Main Street Commons plans in his 5th Avenue office. (Photos by Larry Vogel)

Local developer, business owner and all-round Edmonds booster Mike McMurray provided an update on the Main Street Commons project planned for the former Thriftway site at the corner of Sixth and Main in downtown Edmonds — aiming to be a creative fusion of public space, retail, dining and an art and performance venue.

McMurray provided the update at Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary.

Structures include the existing 1954-era Thriftway building and a new yet-to-be-built boutique building, all defining and surrounding a plaza offering outdoor dining and gathering spaces, a sound stage, places for both permanent and rotating art displays and landscaping.  McMurray envisions Main Street Commons as an Edmonds kind of place where citizens can gather and interact.

“Properties on Main Street don’t turn over often,” he said. “I didn’t want to see some big box condo go onto that property. I saw it as a one-time chance to do something special for Edmonds — so when the opportunity to purchase came up, I jumped in.”

McMurray grew up in Edmonds and holds the community close to his heart. Critical for him in deciding how to develop the property is his laser focus on giving Edmonds residents something that they want, value and will use.

Early on, he embarked on a whimsical program to solicit input – a Darth Vader likeness in the window of the old Fabric of Life at 519 Main (another of McMurray’s projects that recently opened as the Leftcraft restaurant) urging citizens to “use the force” and send in ideas for what they’d like to see.

That was back in 2018, and it’s been a long haul since then. He had originally hoped to have the Commons ready for the community by late 2019, but fate, the bureaucracy – and COVID –  had other plans.

“When I started, I didn’t think it would take this long to develop,” Murray said.  “The permitting process took longer than I thought and meant bringing in consultants as it moved along.  And then COVID hit.”

But the time has been well spent, giving McMurray the opportunity to incorporate more comments (he received more than 200 suggestion via Darth Vader) and fine-tune the design and offerings into what he hopes will be near-perfect fit for the community.

The Commons will be a walkable, inviting place that McMurray hopes will become a destination in itself.  He is working with Talarico’s Pizza of Seattle to take over the downstairs space in the old Thriftway Building and be the anchor tenant. In addition to indoor dining, Talarico’s will be able to offer outdoor dining space both in the plaza and on adjacent Main Street. Upstairs would be an all-season gaming area aimed at providing a safe place for young people to hang out, with miniature bowling, pinball and a private dining area for birthdays and other events.

Outdoors will be a covered soundstage that could host everything from Friday evening concerts to Sea Jazz performers, an “art alley” extending past the new boutique building out to 6th Avenue, and plant-covered “green walls” to provide ambiance, texture and color.

Current plans for the boutique building include a street-level, plant-based, frozen dessert shop, two or three retail stalls, and an upstairs event space with a small kitchen adaptable to small weddings and similar events.

Mike McMurray

So when do we get to enjoy all this?

McMurray’s current timeline calls for completing the existing building and plaza area ASAP – which translates to “about a year out” — or more if there is a COVID resurgence.  The new boutique building is likely two to three years out.

“In a perfect world, we’ll be able to eat pizza on the plaza in a year,” he concluded.

— By Larry Vogel

  1. Positive thinking and planning during a difficult and fairly negative time. Kind of refreshing Mike. I wish you well in your endeavor.

  2. I am very excited for this project to begin! Have one suggestion for a shop- olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We have to go to Bellevue or Queen Anne hill . Leavenworth and Pt Townsend have great shops. Edmonds would be a good fit too.

  3. I would welcome some fabulous tacos in Edmonds, the real kind such as you get in Mexico, the little ones you can enjoy like little snacks with different fillings and sauces.

    1. Sounds delightful Chris. Genuine Mexican-style tacos followed by a couple scoops of Molly Moon’s ice cream~ makes a great Edmonds lunch on a fair-weather day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.