EVERETT — There’s an old saying that retail follows rooftops. It means that when you add housing, new restaurants and businesses will follow, enticed by the influx of new residents.
Downtown Everett got a boost this spring when 135 new waterfront apartments opened at the Port of Everett.
This fall it’s getting another boost. A new six-story apartment building, under construction since 2019, has opened in downtown Everett.
The Marquee Apartments at 2721 Wetmore Ave., a Skotdal Real Estate development, features 77 market-rate apartments and 118 parking spaces in an underground garage.
Funko’s headquarters at 2802 Wetmore is one block to the south.
Craig Skotdal, president of the firm’s multi-families and retail division, hopes the Marquee will attract and support new and existing businesses in the area.
“Our primary focus is to take on projects that can help revitalize downtown Everett, and one of the best ways to do that is to grow the residential population,” Skotdal said.
The Marquee is the fourth residential project that the company has completed in downtown Everett in the past two decades.
Skotdal Real Estate has been investing in Everett for 56 years.
The Everett-based property development and management company was founded by Arthur and Marianne Skotdal, a former elementary school teacher who died in 2016.
The couple started with a four-unit apartment building, and the company grew from there, Andrew Skotdal told The Daily Herald.
In 1965, the couple formed Skotdal Real Estate.
Today, their sons — Craig Skotdal, 48, and Andrew Skotdal, 51, president of commercial and industrial division — run the company they bought from their parents from offices in Skotdal-owned Key Bank Tower on Colby Avenue.
Their parents, Craig Skotdal said, “invested in downtown Everett at a time when many people thought it was dying.”
Since the 2000s, Skotdal Real Estate’s previous housing developments have included the Aero Apartments, a 102-unit dwelling at 2901 Rucker Ave., completed in 2016; the 200-unit Library Place Apartments at 2720 Hoyt Ave., which opened in 2012; and the 63-unit Peninsula Apartments at 3120 Colby Ave., completed in 2004.
The company’s portfolio of office, retail, residential and mixed-use properties includes Snohomish Square, Key Bank Tower, Bank of America Building, Pioneer Place, Union Bank Building and the Coastal Community Bank Building.
“Over the years, we have tried to help Everett realize its potential by taking a long-term view, making patient investments, and developing buildings of higher quality than what is currently supported in the marketplace,” Craig Skotdal said.
Skotdal could build elsewhere, such as the Seattle-Bellevue area, but on many projects the firm has chosen to stay local.
Everett offers savings on the price of the ground and the permit process. Otherwise, the cost of materials and construction is essentially the same as other locales, and labor costs are comparable, Craig Skotdal said.
“While conventional wisdom argues that one should not put all their eggs in one basket, we have focused nearly all our real estate projects in Everett’s urban center with a goal of making the most impact,” Craig Skotdal said. “A single market focus increases our risk, but it also increases opportunities for positive change.”
Everett’s theater district
The Marquee is at the former site of the Stewart Title Co. building, which burned down in 2008. In 2010, Skotdal Real Estate purchased the land with the aim of developing a multi-family project, Skotdal said.
Until the project broke ground in 2019, the property was a parking lot. The building had been scheduled for completion in the spring, but because of setbacks, it wasn’t finished until August.
“A typical project that we build takes about 18 months. This one obviously went a little longer, given some of the challenges that we experienced during the pandemic,” Craig Skotdal said.
The state-ordered shutdown of non-essential construction projects in March 2020 idled the project for months, Skotdal said. Supply chain slowdowns also delayed the receipt of construction materials and furnishings.
The Marquee, whose name pays homage to Everett’s theater district, is directly across the street from the Performing Arts Center and Cope-Gillette Theatre.
In the past, the area was the home to as many as 19 theaters, among them the Fox Balboa at 2812 Wetmore; the Liberty at 2822 Wetmore; the Granada at 2926 Wetmore; the Roxy at 2920 Colby Ave., and the Historic Everett Theatre at 2911 Colby Ave.
The Marquee’s name is written in lights above the entrance like the movie theaters of old. And those curved-glass balconies, look closely — they’re designed to resemble a film strip down to the perforations on each edge that are used to advance the film.
Movie-reel signage and retro-style murals that celebrate Vaudeville, opera, jazz and other stage performance, adorn the building’s interior, recalling the golden age of cinema, Craig Skotdal said.
Electric-vehicle charging stations and rooftop solar panels are among the building’s sustainable-design features. And, yes, the Marquee is pet-friendly.
“Our goal was to create a marquee building that added value to the neighborhood and contributed something positive to the community,” Craig Skotdal said.
In all, there are 15 two-bedroom apartments and 62 one-bedroom units that range in size from 542 to 1,011 square feet. Monthly rents range from about $1,520 to $2,640. Parking spaces are available as a separate lease.
Tenants began moving into the building in late August.
Nicholas Parlow, the Marquee’s manager, says the residence has drawn inquiries and lease agreements from young and old, families, Snohomish and King County residents and even some folks from out of state.
Fully occupied, the Marquee is expected to house more than 100 residents. It is currently 40% leased, Parlow said.
More foot traffic
One block east of the Marquee, at 2701 Rockefeller Ave., Seattle-based Trent Development is erecting an eight-story, 165-unit apartment building. The development, called the Nimbus, is scheduled to open in fall 2022.
A year ago in August, Kinect@Broadway, a seven-story development with market-rate apartments, opened at 3214 Broadway.
Next spring, the south Waterfront Place Apartment building is expected to open, adding 131 market-rate units. Between the north and south buildings, that complex has 236 apartments.
Everett’s businesses, from dress shops to yoga studios and bistros, hope to benefit from the growing number of downtown and waterfront apartment residents.
Anything that brings more people to downtown is good for business, local merchants say.
“It’s exciting,” said Jeni Ellis of the city’s growing stock of local residences.
In May, Ellis and her husband, Tim Ellis, opened Chai Cupboard, a new tea and spices shop, at 2809 Colby Ave.. The store offers more than 100 varieties of loose tea and as many spices.
“It makes me very hopeful that we will have more foot traffic and that downtown will be busier,” Jeni Ellis said. “We depend on foot traffic and word-of-mouth.”
Bob Briggs, who opened The Best Puzzles & Gifts shop at 1315 Hewitt Ave. a year ago, is also upbeat. “It means more foot traffic,” Briggs said. “It means seeing more people pop into the store.”
Skotdal envisions a bright future for those proprietors and others.
“I’ve seen studies that say that residents spend three times as much as office workers or visitors to a neighborhood. Having more residents in close proximity to nearby shops and restaurants will give businesses the extra support that’s needed right now,” Craig Skotdal said.
“I think downtown Everett is starting to see new interest now that we’ve navigated through the worst part of the pandemic. We’re seeing evidence of that with the Flying Pig restaurant coming back to downtown. There’s a new Mexican restaurant opening up across from the Flying Pig on Hewitt. We’re seeing activity in downtown that is positive and encouraging.”
Janice Podsada; firstname.lastname@example.org; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods
This story has been modified to correct the number of one-bedroom apartments.