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Woodinville laying groundwork to build local 'Garden District'

The city is working with longtime favorite Molbak’s Garden & Home, which has been a staple in Woodinville for more than 65 years.

WOODINVILLE, Wash. — The city of Woodinville is set to break ground on a major project the mayor said will focus on sustainability and bringing in more tourists and residents to the area.

“When people think of Woodinville, you think of two things,” said Woodinville Mayor Mike Millman. “One is wine tasting and Molbak’s.”

Millman is excited to work with the longtime favorite Molbak’s Garden & Home, which has been a staple in the wine town for more than 65 years, as they plan for a greener future.

“It’s going to be spectacular, it’s really visionary,” said Julie Kouhia, CEO of Molbak’s Garden & Home.

Kouhia said they’re planning on building a city within a garden on 20 acres of space in the heart of Woodinville, which will be known as the “Garden District.”

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“There’s going to be places for people to live,” said Kouhia. “There are going to be apartments here, even with the rebuilding or Molbak’s, we will have four stories of apartments right there with us, and then there’s going to be other retailers, restaurants. There’s going to be outdoor green spaces. Perhaps a hotel in the future.”

She said the University of Washington’s Green Futures Lab is helping them with the 10-to-15-year project, making it as sustainable and eco-friendly as they can by first focusing on building a new Molbak’s store within the new community.

“We’re going to be reclaiming the water, the rainwater off our roofs and using it to reirrigate our plants in the store and we have cross lamented timbers, that will hold up a central building that looks like a treehouse,” said Kouhia.

Millman said this project couldn’t have started at a better time. He estimates 800,000 people visit Woodinville every year, and with the new Garden District, that number is expected to grow. City contractors predict the city’s population, which is currently 14,000 people, will grow by 30% within the next 10 years.

“Help us with our infrastructure, they’re going to help us develop some roads, they’re going to rehabilitate a stream that’s going to help us renew a fish population that goes out to the Sammamish River,” said Millman.

The mayor said the city within a garden won’t cost taxpayers or use any city funds because it’s privately funded. Which is another reason why he’s thrilled for what’s to come.

“Molbak’s is an iconic part of our community,” said Millman. “As I said earlier, it’s 66 years here and we look forward to them being here another 66 years.”

The first phase of the project is making the new Molbak’s store nearby. They’re set to break ground at the end of the year or early next year. The current store will be open during construction and the new store is slated to open in 2025.

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