Digging down, building up in Winslow - Half of Bainbridge's growth to go into town's boundaries

Before it goes up, Winslow’s “Winslow” development is going down. Crews work this week in a pit that will accommodate a two-level parking garage at Winslow Way and Ericksen Avenue, to be topped by condominiums and retail space.


By JOHN WALDO/ Staff Writer
Bainbridge Review

After a year of relative calm, downtown Winslow promises to be a storm of construction activity for the next few years.

Projects in various stages of the planning process could add 500 or more residences to the island’s urban core.
If all those projects materialize – history suggests some may fall by the wayside – they would go a long way towards fulfilling the Comprehensive Plan’s goal of putting half of Bainbridge’s growth into the historic boundaries of Winslow.

“It may seem alarming that it’s coming in somewhat bigger gulps, but I think it’s consistent with the Comprehensive Plan,” said former Mayor Dwight Sutton, who served on the Bainbridge Island City Council when the island’s long-range plan was adopted.

Sutton said those who might be uncomfortable with the prospect of 500 new residences in Winslow should look at the alternative – 500 homes elsewhere.

“If they were spread evenly across the island like peanut butter, that would mean a lot of new subdivisions in outlying areas, and I don’t think people would like that very much,” he said.

“Location, location, location,” said Rod McKenzie, a developer who has specialized in in-town projects. “Some people just want to be downtown because they enjoy what goes on there.”

There are close to a dozen Winslow-area projects in the works (not including “the Winslow” – see related article):
* Ihland Apartments, a 37-unit complex on the north side of Ihland Way east of Madison Avenue, is now under construction. Designed by seemingly ubiquitous architect Charles Wenzlau, the two- and three-bedroom apartments will be “stacked flats” – one-story units sitting atop one another – around a central park area. The rental units should be finished this summer.

* Work should begin any day on Stonecress, a 45-unit condominium complex on the north side of High School Road west of Ferncliff.

The one-and-a-half story units – two and three bedrooms – will be duplexes, but because the common wall will be the garage, they will look like detached homes, said Tim Bailey of the Bainbridge Windermere office, representing builder Central Highlands.

Prices will run from near $200,000 to a high of $280,000, with most units in the $230,000 range, making it the most “affordable” project on Bainbridge.

* Sakai Village, once planned to have as many as 144 units across Madison Avenue from Ordway School, has been scaled down, developer Doug Nelson said.

Instead of three-story condominiums, of which 12 have been built, the new design will feature one-and-a-half story units with a master on the main floor. Each will have a fenced yard, Nelson said.

“Because that design eats up more land, I think our maximum number will be about 100,” he said.

* The Garden Lofts at the northeast corner of Wyatt Way and Madison Avenue will put six 500-square-foot apartments, eight condominiums and 3,000 square feet of retail space on a 1.3-acre site presently occupied by a historic red house and tower.

The tower will be incorporated into the project, developer Jim Laughlin said, while the house will be relocated.
Designed by architects Jim Cutler and Bruce Anderson, the condominiums range from 1,100 to 2,000 square feet and will feature either street-level or rooftop courtyards. Laughlin said he hopes prices can start under $300,000.
* The Cottages on Ericksen, another Wenzlau design, should be ready for occupancy in January. The 11 detached homes each have porches and garden areas, and are grouped around open space. Only three of the cottages remain unsold, Wenzlau said.

* A mixed-use project on Ericksen immediately north of the BPA Playhouse driveway will feature seven residential units in four buildings around a courtyard.

The ground floor of the buildings facing Ericksen will be office space. No decision has yet been made on whether the units will be rentals or condominiums, architect Wenzlau said.

* The Wood Avenue townhomes are eight stacked flats and seven courtyard condominiums on the corner of Wood Avenue and Winslow Way West. The developer is Rod McKenzie; another Wenzlau design, the project will go before the Planning Commission this Thursday.

* Two smaller projects are planned off of Madrona Way, east of Madison and south of Wyatt.

The Rosebud will be a six-unit apartment complex with small ground-floor offices on the north side of the street; Madrona Gardens, a pair of four-plexes, is slated at the east end. It awaits approval from the city council on the adequacy of public amenities planned by developers Mike and Rosalys Peel.

* The island’s largest single project, Harbor Square, plans to break ground next spring on the first phase of what will eventually be a 180-unit complex north of the ferry terminal. The project has received city approvals except for three conditional uses, which the city’s hearing examiner will consider.

Several other projects face delays or revisions, including:

* The High School Road mixed-use project, a 60-unit apartment complex with a 51-unit “extended stay” hotel, is on hold pending resolution of a citizen environmental appeal based on traffic impacts.

* The Meridian, an 18-unit condominium complex on an L-shaped lot north of Knechtel Way and east of Ericksen Avenue, is reportedly being revised, and will await further city consideration. Some grading and excavation was undertaken last year, but no further work has been done.

* An office and apartment complex at Madison Avenue extending east along Wallace Way is in “the feasibility study” phase, according to applicant Jim Laws of Windermere Real Estate. The pre-application calls for a 4,600-square-foot office building – a possible site for the real-estate agency – on the corner, and a 12-unit apartment complex along Wallace. Laws said he will make a go/no-go decision by the end of the year.

Former Mayor Sutton said that all in all, the plans on the books validate the island’s processes.

“This speaks well for the planning efforts we’ve made,” he said. “We are putting the growth into areas that have the amenities and infrastructure to handle it.”


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