Business

Construction projects beef up Freeland business district

"Earth movers push sandy soil around the Main Street, Freeland site for a new lumber yard for Frontier Industries.Matt Johnson/staff photoNot everyone who wants to build a business in Freeland has to go to court to do it.This week, three new construction projects along Main Street and Scott Road rolled along with the smoothness most business people and contractors can only dream of. On both sides of Teddy's on Whidbey restaurant, earth moving equipment, trucks, and contractors were hard at work, building a commercial mall complex, a lumberyard, and a building for a South Whidbey electrical contractor.Steve Myres, owner of Sound Electric, Inc., said Thursday that work on his new 14,415-square-foot building could not be moving along any more efficiently. Sandwiched between the construction site for Frontier Industries' new lumber yard and Puget Sound Energy's electrical substation, the Sound Electric building will soon be home to a number of contractors and an electrical wholesaler. Myres said a combination of dry fall weather and good soils at the building site are making the dirt and foundation work for the building extremely easy. He also credited the Island County Building Department for making his permit speed along on schedule.Myres said he expects the building itself to start going up by the second week in December.It's moving along pretty good, Myres said. We're very fortunate we have this type of weather.Located in Clinton for the past several years, Sound Electric is moving to its new Freeland location because the business needs more space. Myres is building the business' new location large enough to house a number of other local contractors.There's been a lot of positive support, he said.Also building for space is Frontier Industries. Chuck Posey, operations manager for Frontier, said Thursday that his company is also on an ambitious building schedule and is hoping to move in no later than May. Frontier operates stores in Anacortes, Oak Harbor and Freeland, but its Freeland store is currently in a building rented from the owners of Copeland Lumber. Posey said the exact completion date for the $1 million, 80,000 square foot facility is still up in the air.We're a week or two from a realistic estimate, he said.The earthwork for the project is somewhat more complex than that at the Sound Electric site. The county required Frontier to build a large berm between its building site and Highway 525 to screen the project from the highway. Posey said that berm and the rest of the Frontier project will be heavily landscaped, which should increase its visual appeal.Down Scott Road on the other side of Teddy's, the third project in this mass of development is near completion. A three-building, 12,000-square-foot commercial center owned by Freeland Investments, Inc. already has two occupants, a paved parking lot, and customer traffic. The project's contractor, Island Construction, expects to finish work on the last of the three identical buildings by Jan. 1. Studio A, formerly of Langley, and a doctor's office are the project's first two occupants. A spokesperson for Island Construction said Freeland Investments is currently negotiating with several other businesses interested in renting space at the commercial center.In additions to these three projects, work also began this week on a senior residential facility on Main Street. That project is scheduled for completion in late 2001. "

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