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Quirky Bothell shopping village may give way to new housing

BOTHELL, Wash. -- The need for new homes continues in our region.

But that means some old and beloved locations may fall by the wayside.

In Bothell, there are concerns that Country Village, a quirky assortment of shops, restaurant, bars, art, and nature, may soon give way to townhomes.

“It’s such a great community,” said Jennifer Maki, who just opened an art store in an old caboose at the village. “To see that fall apart, get torn down, would be really heartbreaking.”

The Loveless family opened Country Village 35 years ago and owns the land. The family was unavailable to comment, but in a letter to shop owners they confirmed they are considering selling the property to townhouse developers.

The family already sold 6 acres of the village last year, to make way for townhomes.

“The amount of money the property is worth is simply too much to walk away from,” said Richard Mohler, an associate professor of architecture at the University of Washington.

He adds that business is so booming in the northwest right now, our region is adding more than 45 jobs a day, and housing is not meeting the demand.

“We’re shy about 75,000 units of housing in our region,” said Mohler. “That’s the reason that this land is so valuable for housing.”

A lot of people in Bothell don’t want to see the quirky Country Village go away.

“If I drive by there and it’s all condos I’ll be crying,” said Gavin Wissler, who has collected a thousand signatures on a petition to save the village.

One of her ideas is forming a non-profit corporation to buy the property from the family.

“If we could figure out a way for the loveless family to get their money for the property then everybody would be happy,” said Wissler. She realizes that would take a huge commitment from the community, and millions would need to be raised.

Maki says the businesses in the village have been guaranteed by the family that nothing will happen for at least a year.

But Mohler says, if it does, it is just part of the new reality in Bothell and beyond.

“I empathize with people’s concern about things changing, and we are losing a lot of what you might call funky places that neighbors might identify with. But we are experiencing tremendous growth, and with that growth comes tremendous pressure on housing.”