Wednesday, December 17, 2014

West Olympia Neighborhood Gets A Facelift

Above: Two properties on Division Street were recently purchased by Olympia resident Alicia Elliott. The house at 110 Division was in poor condition and demolished today. The property will be the site of a future business. The property next door at 106 Division will be remodeled into another business.

By Janine Unsoeld

An area near the corner of Harrison and Division continues its transformation into a friendly, walkable neighborhood center in west Olympia.
Olympia resident Alicia Elliott bought two residential properties on busy Division Street earlier this summer and continues her bold vision to transform the area into a neighborhood center that welcomes foot traffic and locally owned businesses.

Recently, Elliott bought the property on the corner of Division and Harrison that became West Central Park, and the former DeGarmo’s Pharmacy property located next door to the park. That property is scheduled to become a café in 2015.

The properties at 106 Division and 110 Division are just down the street from the park. The house at 110 Division was in poor condition and was demolished today.
Elliott watched as Matt Aynardi of Altis Construction, LLC used an excavator to bulldoze the house. Susan Fernbach, a neighborhood resident who lives just behind the property, also watched.

“The area was coming out of its blight by the time I arrived in the neighborhood,” said Fernbach, who has lived behind the property for a year.
The 1930s era house was a rental in poor condition for many years, Elliott said, although she managed to save the new vinyl windows. All the metal and salvageable wood was taken out prior to destruction.  

“The floor, the walls…everything was spongy….I would have restored it if I could,” said Elliott.  
“It’s pretty decrepit. It has a lot of structural problems…to rehabilitate it wouldn’t have been cost effective,” agreed Chris Ruef of Altis Construction, who supervised the demolition. Ruef said he’d have the house down today and all debris removed by Monday.

Elliott said she had to get many environmental permits related to clean air, asbestos, and lead before proceeding with the bulldozing.
Elliott plans to build a two story, 2,500 square foot business on the site and restore the house next door at 106 Division, possibly into a bakery. Plans are still in the design phase but Elliott says that the businesses will look residential from the street. Fifteen parking spaces will be created in the back and a large White Oak tree and three apple trees in the back of the property will be spared.

Above: The yellow house on 106 Division Street will be remodeled into a business. West Central Park can be seen at the intersection of Harrison and Division.