Edmonds’ Main Street Commons on track to open mid-2023

Main Street Commons owner/developer Mike McMurray, right, with Johnny Mo, who will operate the pizzeria on the second floor of the new building. Mo brought along several of his pizzas for the audience to sample. (Photo by Larry Vogel)

The construction work at 6th and Main has been hard to miss. The place has been a beehive of activity with workers busy doing everything from electrical to framing to finish carpentry.

But two big questions are on everyone’s mind: When will it open and what will be there?

At his keynote address during the Edmonds Chamber’s inaugural Connect Edmonds program Tuesday afternoon, Mike McMurray provided the latest updates on the who, what and when of Main Street Commons. The project’s owner/developer, McMurray spoke an audience of more than 130 citizens and business owners gathered in the main ballroom of the Edmonds Waterfront Center.

“Sorry this project has taken so long,” he began. “But it’s really important to me to get things right as we take this amazing location and turn it into a real community asset.”

While the parcel size is small – one half acre – McMurray will use a full third of it for patios and open space.

McMurray went on to explain that to date four tenants have signed leases: Molly Moon Ice Cream, Johnny Mo’s Pizzeria, the Copperpot Bakery and Virtue Cellars.  Two more are pending, and announcements will be made when they happen.

“I really wanted to keep our tenants local as much as possible,” McMurray continued, “and I’m really pleased that the four we have now are all Seattle area-based companies. If all goes as planned, the community can look forward to them being open in plenty of time for summer.”

Main Street Commons even has a mascot – Yosty the owl, designed by Edmonds artist Mac Bennett.

But McMurray’s vision of the Main Street Commons goes far beyond a place to merely grab a snack. He spoke of five key elements at the heart of the Commons project — business synergies, art, civic connections, open spaces and architectural values – and his plan is to mix these in a way that creates a one-of-a-kind community asset.

“When I say business synergies, I’m talking about enhancing our already vibrant downtown with even more choices for residents and visitors,” he explained.

Tacoma-based artist Paige Pettibon has been commissioned to create a Salish-themed mural for the Commons’ rooftop display area.
Pettibon’s mural will be placed on the rooftop display area of the Thriftway building.

He went on to clarify that rather than replicate what’s already here, he aims to provide a combination of new offerings and variations on existing themes, all with a local flair. There will be dedicated spaces for murals and performing arts — the rooftop mural space will display a new Salish-themed work by Tacoma-based artist Paige Pettibon — and Edmonds’ civic heritage will be honored by preserving the classic architecture of the 1954 Thriftway building and by providing a new home and dedicated display space for Edmonds’ 1938 Ford fire engine.

One way of maintaining the “sense of place,” McMurray said, is the repurposing of the old 1954 Edmonds Thriftway, while preserving its original architectural character.
Part of the preservation of the Thriftway building includes maintaining the open, arched-beam ceiling.

“That 1954 Thriftway building is such a gem with its arched beam ceilings,” he continued. “It offers a sense of place, of where we came from in addition to providing a great mid-century warehouse vibe, a theme we’re following through by choosing a host of other design elements that play off this.”

Despite the space constraints imposed by the half-acre property parcel, he explained that a full one-third  of property will be dedicated to plaza areas and open space — some of it covered — allowing year-round enjoyment. These areas will be enhanced with overhead string lighting, plantings, textured paving systems and multiple levels, all to create an inviting urban feel. The design is being overseen by Karen Kiest Landscape Architects, who also did the design work at Salish Crossing.

Some of the landscape elements that will enhance the patio and open areas, all designed by Karen Kiest, Landscape Architects.

The latest major addition has been the new building right on the corner of 6th and Main – look for the scaffolding to come down any day now.  Unlike the main building, it hasn’t been around since 1954. It’s brand new, but McMurray is taking pains to keep the classic warehouse/industrial look with charcoal-colored bricks and other design elements.

“Red bricks would have been cheaper,” he added.  “But the charcoal has way more character.

The new building is faced with charcoal-colored bricks to give a heightened sense of the mid-century warehouse atmosphere McMurray wants to maintain.

Three of the new tenants – Molly Moon Ice Cream, Virtue Cellars and Johnny Mo’s Pizza – will be based in the new building.

“Molly Moon will be right on the corner, easily visible and accessible from the street,” explained McMurray. “Johnny Mo’s will have the entire upstairs, with indoor and outdoor dining on the raised terrace. Virtue Cellars will have their shop and tasting room on the south side of the building. Copperpot bakery will be teaming up with 314 Pie  in the old Thriftway building in a space facing Main Street, that’s still under construction. Interestingly, 314 Pie up until now has been a wholesaler, so this gives them the chance to try something new right here in Edmonds.”

Artist’s rendering showing the location of Molly Moon’s Ice Cream in the new building. Directly upstairs will be Johnny Mo’s Pizzeria with indoor and outdoor dining.
Artist’s rendering of the interior of Johnny Mo’s Pizzeria.
Virtue Cellars space in the new building will include a tasting bar.

In conclusion, McMurray again expressed his appreciation to the town as the project came together.

“Thanks again to everyone in town for their patience over the past two years,” he said. “It’s my dream to keep things local, pull together these businesses, create synergies, and take this classic location and turn it into a real community asset. I want it to be a place Edmonds can enjoy for generations to come.”

— By Larry Vogel

  1. I appreciate Mike’s thoughtful, careful development style. His love for Edmonds, appreciation for our history and sense of community are clear; it’s not all about the money. This is the kind of developer we need in Edmonds. I’m looking forward to the opening of this new space.

  2. How fitting to have Molly. Moon’s ice Cream in this long-awaited complex. Molly’s mom was the historic preservation officer for Idaho State Parks where I met her as the acting HPO for WA State Parks. Her untimely passing as a resident of Cooupeville would have prevented her from attending the opening of Molly’s new home at 6th and Main. How sad yet appropriate.

  3. Hope it’s really going to accommodate all since many businesses in Edmonds are inaccessible to people with mobility issues.

    1. Mary – thank you for bringing forward the issue of inaccessibility to people with mobility issues. This is an issue which simply fails to resonate with city staff as a part of the definition of an inclusive community. Mobility issues can range from someone briefly using a rolling walker for foot or lower leg issues to someone who is wheelchair bound permanently to someone who has a child who requires wheelchair or rolled assistance for mobility. It is a broad category which receives limited advocacy.

    2. Mary: I asked Mr. McMurray about this after the presentation, and he mentioned there are elevators in both buildings, accessible parking as well as ramps (for those who can’t utilize the stairs).

  4. Looking forward to this! Although everyone in Edmonds may gain a few, pizza, vino and ice cream! Ha! We will just have to dance it off watching the live music!

  5. I wonder if this location will serve ice cream to uniformed Edmonds PD? There other locations don’t serve members of law enforcement in uniform. Just asking?

    1. Great question. I won’t be stopping by their new Edmonds location because of the way her company has treated law enforcement. I also pass up the company’s product in grocery stores for the same reason. But the rest of the vendors and other things being planned for the new complex sound wonderful!

  6. Where is the parking, the graphic is low resolution so I am not able to zoom in, maybe I see 8 parking spaces. Just the employees alone from all of these business with bring enough cars to fill every empty spot in the area, m I’m just not seeing how this will work? Is it underground maybe?

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.