Business

Bayview Cash Store is growing up

It's a sunny summer day and there are a dozen people walking up and down a long concrete loading dock and deck area at the Bayview Cash Store.

Some are there to shop and walk into one of four retail shops along the causeway. Others, after grabbing coffee and lunch at the Smilin' Dog Cafe, sit down at tables and look across a sculpture garden toward Bayview Farm and Garden.

Inside the cash store, more people mill around in a two-story atrium looking between paintings mounted on the wall for an art show with a pyramid skylight over their heads. Office workers leaning against a railing a story above look down as they wait for a digital video hookup in the conference room to be completed with a company on the East Coast. They'll take an extra 10-minute coffee break over a four hour flight any day.

The preceding scene is soon to be brought to South Whidbey by Goosefoot Community Fund. In May, the private non-profit will begin the final remodeling phase of the historic Bayview Cash Store. By January, the circa-1924 building will have a new lease on life as an office and retail center with the addition of a second story, new storefronts and a loading dock that will resemble a promenade.

And none of it, say the building's owners and architects, will look a day newer than 80 years old.

Expected to be the final phase in Goosefoot's revitalization of the Bayview commercial district, the remodel is expected to bring several businesses to the area. Linda Moore, Goosefoot's attorney and project manager, said this week that the project will make what is currently a poorly placed building in terms of vehicle access a draw for both locals and tourists.

Though it lacks good street appeal due to a lack of parking along Bayview and Marshview roads, Moore said the Cash Store is such a historically significant building that she and Goosefoot benefactor Nancy Nordhoff wanted work around its deficiencies.

"We felt there was something significant about the historical character even though it creates an awkwardness in the modern world," she said.

Charged with making the building work in the modern world are architects David Price and Eric Richmond, who own the firm Flatrock Productions. Having already worked with Moore on her plan to revitalize and rebuild the Langley Marina building in Langley, the pair were hired to modernize and expand the Cash Store design while retaining the feel it currently has.

Price said the big challenge with the project was tying several elements together. The Cash Store is actually a mercantile building, a house and a third building tied together with a single roof built over the three during the 1930s.

Using old photos of the building as inspiration, Price and Richmond retained the building's mazelike interior layout in the plans they drew up and exposed old architectural details like exterior siding on the house portion of the Cash Store.

Price said the finished plans went over well at a recent open house at which the building's new look was the center of attention. One man who looked at the plans asked whether the new drawings showed how the Cash Store used to look.

"That was the best compliment," Price said.

The architects said several aspects of the building will draw traffic. Both are proud of the loading dock and the atrium space, dubbed The Hub on their plans. Giving the building more street appeal will be a detail they did not come up with -- a wood-sheathed water tower that will be part of the building's water recycling system. Moore said the tower will be the thing that first catches the eyes of passing motorists.

When the remodel is finished in January 2004, the Cash Store will have 11,990 square feet of retail and office space, compared to the existing 7,157. At the moment, the Smilin' Dog is the only confirmed tenant but, Moore said, others are being sought.

Goosefoot purchased the Cash Store in 1999 and spent two years doing initial remodeling work. Construction workers pulled four old gas tanks out of the ground, excavated fuel-soaked soil, built a new foundation for the building, and replaced an exterior wall.

The next phase of remodeling will utilize a number of recycled and sustainable construction materials, including beams and trusses to be salvaged from the Cash Store's current roof.

The Cash Store is one component of Goosefoot's effort to build a sustainable commercial development at Bayview. The nonprofit owns 23 acres of land surrounding the building, some of which was used to build a large septic system for the Bayview area. Goosefoot also operates a farmers market and promotes resource conservation.

Moore said she expects to have most of the Cash Store's new tenants in the building in the early months of 2004.

Community Events, April 2014

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