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As downtown Redmond changes, businesses find new homes
As the City of Redmond focuses on turning the downtown into an urban center, the neighborhood has been seeing many changes — from the construction of new multi-story, multi-use buildings to increased development along the Redmond Central Connector and more.
To make way for these changes, businesses throughout the neighborhood have moved to new locations or are moving to new locations.
WORKING OUT IN THE END
After spending 41 years in the same location at the corner of Brown Street and Redmond Way downtown, Redmond Cycle moved to its new location at 7495 159th Place N.E. on March 3 to make way for the planned Downtown Park.
While owner Ernie Estrin was initially reluctant about the move, saying he was very upset when he heard about the city’s plan for the park and didn’t want to move, things have been doing well for the 45-year-old bike shop.
“It’s really worked out pretty good, actually,” he said.
This being said, Redmond Cycle has come across one obstacle since the move. Estrin said 159th Place Northeast is not as busy as Redmond Way.
“Our customers are still calling and emailing to find our new location,” he said.
The new location is about three blocks southwest from the old building and Estrin said, at about 7,200 square feet, the space is twice as big as the previous 3,600-square-foot store. With this extra space, he said they are able to display more bikes of different sizes and they have space for clothing and accessories.
In addition, Redmond Cycle’s parking lot is now twice as big at the new location, which Estrin said is very close to a bike trail.
Although the move worked out for Redmond Cycle, Estrin said they did struggle a bit with trying to find a space that would work and they could afford. He said a number of organizations, developers and real estate agencies were able to help them with this search.
“The city treated us pretty darn fair and we were able to make the move,” Estrin added.
A NEW HOME
With a new 209-unit apartment building with ground-floor commercial businesses coming to its location, McDonald’s Book Exchange at 16415 N.E. 83rd St. will be moving to a new building next month. As reported earlier, the 30-plus-year-old business has called three different locations home and it will soon add the building at 16210 N.E. 80th St. to the list.
“It’s a lot smaller, but I think it will be nice when we’re done,” McDonald’s owner Anne St. Germain said about the new location.
The current McDonald’s building is about 2,900 square feet, while the new building is about 1,900 square feet.
Although the bookstore is moving only about two blocks south and one block west, St. Germain is worried they will face a similar dilemma as Redmond Cycle because the new location is a bit hidden and the streets surrounding it are not as busy.
“We get a lot of drive-by traffic,” she said.
Although the new McDonald’s location is smaller, St. Germain said it fit the criteria of what she was looking for in a new location: “An older building with some character.”
It was also important for McDonald’s to stay in downtown. St. Germain said, “It was that or nothing” about staying in the neighborhood, adding that it wouldn’t have been worth it to open the bookstore somewhere else.
OLD BUILDING, NEW OPPORTUNITY
The new McDonald’s building is currently home to OneRedmond — formerly the Greater Redmond Chamber of Commerce — but the organization is in the middle of moving to its new location in the Opportunity Building at 8383 158th Ave. N.E., Ste. 225, near Redmond City Hall.
Before housing business offices, St. Germain said the old chamber building had been the city’s first library and she thinks it’s a kick that the building will once again become a home for books.
OneRedmond Board President Eric Scroggins said there is still some final work to be done before they can move into their new office, but they should be all moved in by next week.
“(We’re) just about finished,” he said, adding that OneRedmond plans to turn over the building to McDonald’s by June 1.
St. Germain said her hope is to be all moved in by the end of June, which is when they need to vacate the current building. She added that the plan is not to close for the move and they may open each location in some capacity for a few days during the move.
“If people don’t mind total chaos,” she said with a laugh.
Scroggins said OneRedmond owns the current building they are in, so they didn’t have to worry about an expiring lease. He said the timing of their move and McDonald’s was just a coincidence, but it a very fortunate one.
“We’re privileged that that actually worked out,” he said. “It’s great timing.”
OneRedmond is moving because the economic development organization needed an office that better fit its needs, Scroggins said. The layout of the new space is more conducive to the services OneRedmond provides, which include various trainings, meetings with business leaders and more.