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The Everett frontier

A Hewitt Avenue developer lands first new tenant

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Kathy Day / Herald Writer

A Hewitt Avenue developer lands first new tenant

By Kathy Day
Herald Writer
EVERETT -- You might want to call Bill Louf the new breed of local pioneer. He's the first new tenant to sign on with developer Craig Dieffenbach, who dreams of revitalizing Hewitt Avenue. Louf, who owns and operates a graphic design studio called ImageMaster and an allied photography operation called Photo Graphic Dimensions, moved from 3231 Broadway. Now his neighbors are Jack's Men's Shop, Finley's Architects and Interiors, and a remodeling project in the apartments over his studio. He set out seeking warehouse space with high ceilings, brick walls and wood floors. But when he saw the space at 1814 Hewitt, he figured he'd take a chance. Although he knows it will take time for Dieffenbach to get his plans off the ground and for the city to install new sewer lines, sidewalks and trees on the thoroughfare, he said that shouldn't bother his operation. "I don't rely on walk-ins," he said, adding that he's been pleasantly surprised that some people have stopped in to inquire about reproducing their art since he opened a month ago. In addition to designing graphics, he offers a full line of what he calls "digital imaging output services." That's a fancy way to say he can reproduce any photo or design images for everything from large banners to small brochures. He also creates and fabricates trade-show exhibits for customers, a talent he put to work in his own shop. Visitors entering his business may think they've been transported from downtown Everett to the Southwest. The wall dividing his reception area from his workspace is fashioned after the Hacienda del Sol in Tucson. As a sideline, he's also started a business to promote what he calls his Dreamscapes, in which he takes large-format scenic photos and layers the images. Then he lights them from behind and mounts them in a shadow box frame. So far his biggest challenge on Hewitt has been figuring out where he put everything and dealing with details in updating an older building. "Everything's a little more complicated," he said. "It's the difference between remodeling and restoration." And while Louf gets his bearings in his new studio, Dieffenbach is continuing to work deals for more buildings along Hewitt. He said he closed escrow recently on the Que Point building at the corner of Hewitt and Wetmore avenues. Tenants include Burnett Jewelers, Renee's women's boutique, the county auditor's office and corporate offices for Aero Mech, a firm that refurbishes jets. It also once housed the Great Western Cigar Co., on the Wetmore side of the building. With the $1.3 million he paid for the latest property, he and his partners have invested nearly $5.5 million in eight properties. One, the Cosmopolitan Theater, is on property the city is eyeing for a possible sports arena and another, Jack's Men's Shop, is across the street from what could be a main entry to the center. A vote on the final site is expected Tuesday. In addition, Dieffenbach said Thursday he's negotiating on four more parcels and is talking to a number of prospective tenants about plans for the properties. You can call Herald Writer Kathy Day at 425-339-3453
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