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`Railroad Building' rolls into downtown
SNOQUALMIE A downtown "eyesore" is about to be replaced
with a 10,000-square-foot, two-story building, and its' owner hopes it
will spur others to reinvest in the business district.
Voyislav Kokeza, president of Admiral Enterprises Inc., is looking
for tenants to occupy what he's calling the "Railroad Building."
Once completed, it will fill the vacant lot next to Snoqualmie Dry Goods
and stretch from the south sidewalk on Railroad Avenue to the north
sidewalk along Falls Avenue. Signs were erected at the site in advance
of construction, and advertisements for the building are beginning to
appear in newspapers. Kokeza,who lives in Issaquah,
said he wants to gauge potential tenants' interest before breaking ground on
the project. Office space will be built to suit tenants' needs.
The building will closely resemble other downtown buildings.
Kokeza bought the land more than a year ago at the same time he bought the
Monte Vista Building, which now houses the Snoqualmie Falls Brewing
Co. Kokeza also owns a building in Bellevue.
"At first, we didn't know what to do with (the lot)," he said. "As we
saw the area expanding, we thought it would be a good idea to improve it.
"That's the only vacant lot in the downtown area, and we really
thought it was kind of an eyesore."
The Railroad Building will contain retail and office space. Kokeza
said he envisions the first floor would house a retail business, possibly
a restaurant, and the second floor would be used for offices.
"We're going to advertise it, and we hope to get a good mix
of businesses," he said.
By naming it the Railroad Building and locating it downtown,
Kokeza hopes to establish a link with Snoqualmie's past.
"I think the building will be a
really nice addition to the town," he said.
"Downtown Snoqualmie is very important because of the history.
I think it's so important to preserve that and enhance that."
Sue Hankins, director of the Upper Valley Chamber of Commerce,
thinks the building will help the downtown area.
"I think that any time we can add a new structure that's going to
have some more viable businesses, that's a good thing."
However, some will lose out when the building is constructed.
Downtown employees and weekend visitors who come to ride the train currently use
the vacant lot for parking.
"I'm sorry for the people who have parked there for years and years, but
I still believe (the building) will be a good addition to the city and to
the people," Kokeza said.
Hankins said one way to help alleviate the reduction in
parking spaces would be to put signs in front of a city-owned lot near the
Log Pavilion, adding it's possible to "improve the parking at that space
and make people aware of parking there."
Kokeza's dreams don't end with the Railroad Building. He said
he would like to see a day where downtown Snoqualmie is as much
an attraction as the weekend train rides and Snoqualmie Falls.
"When people see things happening, they'll start to put their money
in" their own building, he said. And by improving the downtown area, he
said, everybody wins.
" I believe the businesses will
kind of feed off each other."