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Seabreeze is drifting away

The Seabreeze apartments will make way for a new five-building complex at Madison/Bjune. Negotiations are under way to move the building. - RYAN SCHIERLING/Staff Photo
The Seabreeze apartments will make way for a new five-building complex at Madison/Bjune. Negotiations are under way to move the building.
— image credit: RYAN SCHIERLING/Staff Photo

The Winslow retail core could expand to the south side of Bjune Drive under a proposal that would replace the Seabreeze Apartments with a five-building, mixed-use complex of retail space and condominium homes.

Designed by architect Sean Parker, the Seabreeze plan calls for underground parking, ground-floor retail space and up to three stories of residential living on the one-third acre lot on the southeast corner of Bjune and Madison Avenue.

“We are scheduled for a site-plan review next week, and if all goes well, we will start construction next spring,” said Parker, speaking for unnamed local owners.

The building now on the site, which county records show was built in 1925, will not be incorporated into the project. But Parker said that rather than demolish it, the owners hope to relocate it downtown.

“We have had some discussions with a property owner who may be interested,” he said. “Because of the cost of utility take-downs, we can’t move it far, but we may be able to find a spot in the Winslow core, do some needed renovation and maintain it as affordable housing.”

The five-unit building was not “native” to the site, Parker said, but was barged to the island from the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle in the 1950s.

The planned new development puts three buildings along the south side of Bjune. Behind those three, towards Eagle Harbor, will be two buildings – one along Madison and another on the east side of the property – with a courtyard between the two, to the rear of the Bjune frontage.

Parker said he and partner Bill Isley will move their office into one of the buildings.

The residential units will be connected by a series of bridges, Parker said. Nine of the 11 units will be one-story, while two will be townhomes. They will range in size from a 500-square-foot studio to a 2,000-square-foot penthouse. All will have balconies. Parking will be underground.

“They will be more like individual homes than most condos,” he said, “because you will have separate outside entrances, and they will have windows all around. Most of them will have dynamite views to the water.”

While prices have not been established, Parker estimated the condos will run from the $600,000 range for the penthouse to the $200,000 range for the studios. Two of the units will be “affordable” under city guidelines. MRJ Construction will be the builder.

The site will share the access driveway with the building to the south, presently the Windermere real estate office.

Parker said that the small lots in Winslow create significant challenges to raising the densities in the area enough to accommodate half the island’s growth, as the Comprehensive Plan envisions.

“With sites as tight as those in downtown Winslow, we’ll start to see more people working together to solve parking and access problems,” Parker said.

Parker does not believe the spate of projects scheduled for downtown will create an oversupply of new residential units.

“I think it will be the opposite,” he said. “The energy created down here by those projects will actually push the other projects along. There is not a lot of meat here at the moment, but pretty soon, there will be enough people to become a real town.”

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