Schoolhouse District to house award-winning restaurants

By Meghan McLaughlin

Walla Walla Steak Co. and Crossbuck Brewing are moving into Woodinville’s historic Schoolhouse No. 23.

The award-winning steakhouse and taproom announced in January the businesses will lease the entire two-story building once it is fully restored by MainStreet Property Group, a process that continues to progress.

The steakhouse and taproom are known for turning a historic train depot in its namesake city into the dining and bar space it is today and plans to replicate the convergence of new and old in the schoolhouse next.

“The year ahead brings hope and the ability for people to reconnect, and our new Walla Walla Steak Co. and Crossbuck Brewing taproom locations at the Woodinville Schoolhouse project will be the perfect spot for that,” said Dan Thiessen, managing partner, Walla Walla Steak Co. and Crossbuck Brewing. “Both the steakhouse and taproom provide welcoming spaces with delicious food, wine and beers served with warm hospitality. We look forward to joining the community.”

This recent development adds to plans for the Schoolhouse District project that has been in the works since May 2019. Combining modern architecture with the historic repurposed schoolhouse, the Schoolhouse District will serve as a gathering place for residents and visitors alike. 

“It was designed to be something for everybody,” Assistant to the City Manager Kevin O’Neill said. “It’s a nice combination of everything.”

The project centers around the historic schoolhouse that has stood in Woodinville since 1909 and have acted as a center for learning, Woodinville’s first city hall when the city was incorporated in 1993—but most recently, the structure has housed storage space for the past decade.

The new location of Eastern Washington-based Walla Walla Steak Co. and Crossbuck Brewing is a project by MainStreet Property Group LLC and partner HAL Real Estate. The Woodinville community’s commitment to restoring and reviving the historic schoolhouse is not lost on City Manager Brandon Buchanan, according to a press release distributed by MainStreet Property Group.

“Saving and restoring the old Woodinville School has been a nearly 20-year effort by those championing this vision,” Buchanan said in the press release, “and we couldn’t be more excited to see this iconic and beloved piece of Woodinville’s community now coming to a new life.”

The restaurants are anticipated to open in early 2022. They are not the only features the Schoolhouse District residents can get excited about. The community project will include a “Wine Walk Row” of up to 11 wine tasting rooms, ample retail space and over 260 residential apartment units.

A festival street will run between the existing sports fields, providing space for farmer’s market activity, pop-up shops and art sales, according to O’Neill. There are plans for game areas as well as an outdoor movie wall, additional features that will encourage community building in this space.

“I am proud of the podium area (the landscaped public area above the parking garage and between the building),” said Project Executive of GenCap Construction Corp. Matt Smith. “Not only is it taking the most coordination, but it is also probably the area that will be experienced by the most people. I am excited to be a part of crafting that space and specifically how it integrates to the various retail and public spaces surrounding it.”

In the public piece of this project, the city is renovating the existing Carol Edwards Center YMCA and adding a YMCA-run childcare space, according to O’Neill.

“It’s a really neat project because it’s being tied into the sports fields, so there’s a viewing opportunity there,” O’Neill said. “You can sit and enjoy your coffee or your wine and watch the sports fields. The daycare playground being built on-site doubles as a park when the daycare is not in use. It’s going to transform the downtown area pretty well.”

The Schoolhouse District project is scheduled to be completed this fall, with apartment units available to rent in August.

“It’s a very well-thought-out project,” O’Neill said. “We’re very eager to see it get up and running.”

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