Puyallup Herald

Here's what will rise from the rubble at site of burned-down Sumner restaurant

For more than a decade, commuters pulling into Sumner’s Main Street near the railroad tracks have been greeted by a weeded lot and the side of a blackened, worn brick wall.

It’s the result of a fire that burned a beloved restaurant to the ground in 2005.

Now, an engineering firm is breathing new life into the space.

JMJ Team is constructing a two-story, 4,500-square-foot mixed-use building on the lot at 905 Main St. and will open its offices on the second floor. The building is expected to be completed in 2019.

Drivers and pedestrians will soon see construction work beginning at 905 Main St. A mixed-use building is in the works. Allison Needles allison.needles@puyallupherald.com

Joleen Peterson-Jones and Justin Jones, planners of JMJ Team who just became Sumner residents, purchased the site for approximately $200,000.

“Overall, it’s about a $2 million project and investment in the Sumner community,” Peterson-Jones said.

The couple hopes a coffee shop or restaurant will move into the commercial ground floor. They said interest in the space already has been expressed.

“The location is great — it’s right at the entrance to Main Street,” Peterson-Jones said. “Being part of that active community ... is what attracted us to the property.”

Jones added that the site is not far from the Sumner Sounder Station.

“We were looking for downtown community areas that are also close to mass transit, so that’s a huge asset,” he said.

But why did it take so long to sell the property?

03/01/2005 / METRO SLUG: CABOOSE FIRE A BNSF locomotive passes at 10:15 am Tuesday , the remains of the K.C. Caboose restaurant on Main St. in Sumner Wa. The fire broke out six hours earlier in the popular landmark. (Russ Carmack/The News Tribune) 03/01/2005

“I think it’s a unique space,” Sumner communications director Carmen Palmer said. “A developer couldn't just bring in something they built in five other towns and decide to build it again here. It took creativity, it took some work to make something fit on that site that really made sense.”

Jones said he remembers visiting the the popular restaurant that used to occupy the site. K.C.’s Caboose was well-known for its red exterior and model train on the roof.

After it burned down in 2005, investigators ruled the fire an arson and a former cook there was sentenced to 34 months in state prison.

Allison Needles: 253-597-8507, @herald_allison