A historic building in Redmond will get an upgrade when a new tenant moves in, but rather than being modernized, the little brick building that sits in the heart of “old Redmond” will be restored to its original 1911 look.
Homegrown Sustainable Sandwich Shop will begin working on the building this week, with plans to open this summer. Homegrown co-founder Ben Friedman says he and partner Brad Gillis are big fans of repurposing old buildings rather than building something new.
“(The Redmond shop) will be our 6th location and four out of the six are in historic buildings,” he said. “We make an effort to try to reuse whenever we can. We are huge fans of repurposing old buildings.”
Homegrown practices “sandwich environmentalism.” Their South Lake Union bakery makes bread and cookies daily using Washington state grains and flours, and they purchase other products from local farms – from cheese from Green Bank Farms in Whidbey Island to organic produce grown by Willie Greens in Monroe.
Their restaurants have gotten rave reviews, and their turkey-bacon-avocado sandwich landed on Seattle Met’s 100 Reasons to Love Seattle list.
Friedman and Gillis opened their first store in Fremont in 2009.
“We wanted to provide greater access to organic, sustainable, affordable food,” said Friedman. “At lunchtime people sacrifice and just get whatever is available. We thought there was a niche to be filled there.”
The little brick building on the corner of Leary Way and Cleveland Street in Redmond fits right in with Homegrown’s philosophy of sustainability.
“We place so much value on these old buildings,” said Friedman. “They add so much character to our restaurants.”
The 1911 building was originally Redmond State Bank. In 1955, Brad Best bought it and ran a successful real estate business there for more than 50 years.
The building was approved as a city landmark in 2010, one of 16 historical sites in Redmond.
Best and his family had been looking for a new tenant that would appreciate the historic nature of the building.
“Homegrown will be restoring many of the historic features to the exterior of the building,” said Best’s daughter, Joan Yankis.
That includes removing the awnings over the windows and highlighting the word “BANK” that is still visible above the front door.
The interior walls are all made of exposed brick and Friedman said one wall of the old vault area will have to be removed to make room for the kitchen. Now crumbly with age, those bricks will be meticulously preserved.
“For preservation board requirements, we have to photo journal the deconstruction of the brick, number every piece and then create a template for reconstruction so if you wanted to rebuild the wall you could do it exactly as it was,” he said.
The new restaurant will be in the heart of the City of Redmond's "Cleveland Streetscape," which they hope will be a community gathering place.
"We are less than a block off the new park," said Friedman. "We're excited to be a part of this rehabilitaiton of the old part of Redmond that was getting neglected for the last 10 years."
Says Best, "When I bought the bank building, I was standing across the street looking at the little old bank and I thought 'this is a neat little town and a neat building.' I could not imagine the Redmond we have today. "
Redmond's Homegrown is expected to open sometime this summer.