A four-block stretch of downtown Enumclaw is proving to be plenty interesting these days with tenants coming to one empty building, plans cemented for construction on another and, eventually, a decision needed regarding a crumbling structure deemed unsafe.
All three developments are either finalized, in the process of reaching a conclusion or staggering toward a final verdict.
At the center of attention are the two-story, fairly new structure at 1335 Cole St. that once housed a clothing store and is now destined for social services; a long-vacant, highly-visible parcel of bare land at corner of Cole and Myrtle Avenue; and the deteriorating shell of a building at 1414 Cole St. that has steel poles propping up exterior walls.
Valley Cities getting its own quarters
Built in 2008 and boasting a unique interior, as well as a handsome brick exterior, the building at 1335 Cole originally housed Suburban Soul, a retailer of fashionable women’s clothes. After the retailer closed its doors, the building was used for a short time as an art gallery.
Sitting on a quarter-acre of land that has changed hands six times since 1997 – according to the King County Assessor’s Office – the building was purchased in September 2014 by Valley Cities.
The organization, which serves clients with behavioral health issues, was established in 1965. Today, Valley Cities operates out of offices in Auburn, Bellevue, Federal Way, Kent, Des Moines and Renton.
Valley Cities has served clients from the Enumclaw area since it was launched 50 years ago. According to the organization’s website the Enumclaw clinic, when open, “will provide much of the same services as our other clinics, including mental health counseling for all ages, chemical dependency treatment services, peer support services, care coordination and case management, and much more.”
The organization’s chief executive officer said extensive renovations will take place, turning wide-open spaces into quieter quarters that allow for privacy. It’s expected the building will be ready for occupancy during the first part of 2016, he said.
Long-vacant lot sold, building on the way
Sitting at a prominent crossroads in downtown Enumclaw, the graveled parcel at 1626 Cole St. has a colorful history. A large, brick structure that housed a variety of business went up in flames during the early-morning hours of Jan. 3, 1993. Five businesses were lost to the blaze and a sixth suffered damage. What remained of the building was immediately razed, creating an empty lot that exists today.
That is about to change, courtesy of plans by the Farr Law Group. The legal firm has purchased the lot and gone to the city with plans for an office building.
Presently, Farr Law works out of quarters on Enumclaw’s west side at 3255 Griffin Avenue.
On the lot of 10,000 square feet, the applicants are proposing a structure of 5,150 square feet, along with parking, lighting, landscaping and other improvements.
Design plans for a two-story building have been approved, but a building permit still needs to be issued, according to Erika Shook, who heads the city’s Community Development Department.
Plans for damaged building still up in the air
It was the evening of July 6 when downtown diners heard something like thunder. But it wasn’t Mother Nature causing the commotion, it was the failed roof of the empty building at 1414 Cole St. The center portion of the roof crashed to the ground, causing building walls to bulge slightly outward.
The city rounded up contractors to erect a fence around the lot at the corner of Cole and Stevens and, further, found someone to handle the emergency measure of bracing the wall facing Cole.
That’s where things still stand, as the city continues periodic talks with the building owner or his representatives. Enumclaw officials have made one thing clear: if the potential danger isn’t somehow mitigated, the city can have the building demolished in the name of public safety. Plans have stagnated and deadlines have passed.
As of last week, owners have not approached the city with plans in either direction – demolition or renovation – according to City Administrator Chris Searcy.