Bothell's iconic Country Village to close in 2019

BOTHELL, Wash. -- Bothell has become a destination in recent years. There’s an old schoolhouse turned into a hotel-brewpub, the growing University of Washington Bothell campus, and Pop Keeney Stadium - a great place to watch a high school football or soccer game.

But one of the city’s first attractions will soon disappear.

Country Village, Bothell’s iconic landmark along the Bothell-Everett Highway, is filled with shops, restaurants, and the occasional roaming chicken. Next year, it is slated to close.

“If I could afford it, I’d buy it myself,” said Dave Hayward, who owns Carolina Smoke BBQ, one of many restaurants at Country Village.

Ten years ago, Hayward hit the jackpot, winning $100,000 in the state lottery. He quit his day job and turned his barbeque hobby, into a barbeque business. He says Country Village was the perfect fit.

“Customers come order their steaks, or lamb chops, or pork chops and we can go out into the parking lot and grill out there. I couldn’t do that in a strip mall.”

But the family that owns the property recently confirmed it is being sold to townhouse developers and construction is already under way on the back six acres of the property.

“This has been an agonizing choice,” said Bryan Loveless, son of Rod Loveless, who developed the property into Country Village nearly forty years ago. “It came down to health issues and it was just time for us to move on.”

Loveless says both his dad and mom are in their 90s now, and need around the clock care, and the costs are mounting. He says the family has tried for years to sell to someone who would keep it as the unique shopping and dining area it is right now.

“The problem was nobody materialized,” said Loveless. “We’ve listed the place a bunch of times in the past and we never had anyone materialize that was willing to take this on.”

The entire property won’t be converted to housing for at least a year, and the family has told the business owners they can stay until April of 2019. They are also encouraging the public to continue to visit Country Village until then.

But Dave Hayward is already looking for a new spot to land his barbeque restaurant, and he’s not ready to quit. Several years ago, Hayward suffered a massive heart attack and was clinically dead for several minutes. Barbeque is no longer just his business. It’s his life.

“I came back for a reason, so I’m not done yet.”