Expanding Frontier

LAKE STEVENS – The final touches are being added to two new retail buildings at Frontier Village, wrapping up two years of expansion and remodeling for the shopping center on the west shore of Lake Stevens.

During the past two years, the center has seen the construction and opening of a 65,000-square-foot Safeway and the renovation of Safeway’s former space into a G.I. Joe’s outdoor supply store. The whole strip mall’s exterior also was renovated.

In between that work, Frontier Village’s former owner was bought by Pan Pacific Retail Properties, one of the West Coast’s largest commercial landlords.

FRONTIER VILLAGE

Location: Highway 9 west of Lake Stevens

Anchors: Safeway, G.I. Joe’s, Bartell Drugs

Square footage: Approximately 208,000

Owner: Pan Pacific Retail Properties Inc. of Vista, Calif.

But the new addition is the last of the big changes, said Richard Schoebel, who manages Pan Pacific’s properties in Washington.

“That’s the extent of the development we plan to do at Frontier Village,” Schoebel said. “All that’s left is we plan to replace a few of the old light poles in the parking lot and finish up the cosmetic upgrades.”

The new buildings include 4,000 square feet just north of the new Safeway and a 5,000-square-foot building west of the supermarket.

The latter is fully leased to four new businesses, including new hair, tanning and nail salons and a financial firm. The other new building is still available for lease, Schoebel said.

Frontier Village’s long strip mall and adjacent buildings in the parking lot already host more than two dozen stores, restaurants and services.

With the two additions, the Frontier Village shopping center’s total space exceeds 208,000 square feet, Schoebel said. For comparison, the Marysville Town Center complex a few miles to the northwest contains 227,000 square feet.

Since opening in mid-April, G.I. Joe’s new location has attracted good crowds, said Shannon Burley, a spokeswoman for the Oregon-based retail chain.

“We are very happy with the location and the community,” Burley said. “It’s done well compared to other new stores we’ve opened, especially in the Puget Sound area.”

The commercial potential of the unincorporated Frontier Village area was realized decades ago. In the 1960s, the first sizable shopping center was constructed there, according to property records and the Lake Stevens Sewer District. The district’s first sewer collection and treatment system was built in 1965 to serve the Frontier Village complex.

Since Frontier Village’s creation, several other shopping plazas have been built on surrounding blocks. The greater Frontier Village area around Highway 9 and Highway 204 now hosts three large supermarkets, a Target store and dozens of smaller retail businesses.

Schoebel, whose company took over ownership of Frontier Village in late 2002, said Pan Pacific has been pleased with the shopping center’s performance.

Overall, strip mall-type developments in the county have attracted considerable interest in the past few years.

The reasons are simple, according to commercial property brokers: Many areas of the county continue to grow, and state statistics on taxable consumer purchases in Snohomish County rose more than 4 percent from 2002 to 2003.

The new tenants and residential growth around Frontier Village seem destined to help that particular center even more. Demographic figures cited by Pan Pacific show more than 82,000 residents live within five miles of the shopping center.

“It’s overall growth in that area,” said Linda Divers, president of the Greater Lake Stevens Chamber of Commerce. “All the homes have helped attract the businesses and made them profitable there.”

Schoebel pointed out there still is room left on the Frontier Village property for small retail buildings, but there are no plans in the works.

Reporter Eric Fetters: 425-339-3453 or fetters@heraldnet.com.

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