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Ihland a dry port in the storm

Workers this week are still putting the finishing touches on interiors at the Camelia apartment homes on Ihland Place, south of the library. The apartments, now being leased and occupied, are the first in downtown Winslow in 15 years. - RYAN SCHIERLING/Staff Photo
Workers this week are still putting the finishing touches on interiors at the Camelia apartment homes on Ihland Place, south of the library. The apartments, now being leased and occupied, are the first in downtown Winslow in 15 years.
— image credit: RYAN SCHIERLING/Staff Photo

After a week of record-breaking rain, happiness, to a construction manager, is a dry crawl space.

Madison Avenue Development manager LaMonte Lamoureaux was a happy man Tuesday morning when he inspected the apartment floors and the crawl spaces at the 37-unit Camelia Apartments on Ihland Place off Madison Avenue after Monday’s downpour. No water.

“Some of the grass seed is probably in Puget Sound by now, and our stormwater holding tanks are full, but it’s dry down below,” Lamoureaux said.

While the bulk of the construction is done, a few workers were busy Tuesday putting some finishing touches on the interiors.

“We’re doing some detailing and fine-tuning on the interiors, and some work on the facades and trellising,” Lamoureaux said. “Then the landscaping is still to go in – the weather has slowed that up.”

Despite those unfinished items, tenants are starting to move into the Camelia, the first commercial apartment project to be finished in downtown Winslow in some 15 years.

Designed by architect Charles Wenzlau, the complex offers four different plans. One is a large one-bedroom with an “office” – an entry-level room with hardwood floors a couple of steps below the living-dining area. Another is a two-bedroom, one-bath on the ground floor. Some two bedroom units have two baths, and are handicap-accessible. Three-bedroom units on the upper floors are actually two-story affairs with cathedral ceilings and a third bedroom upstairs.

“This upstairs bedroom could end up being the master suite,” Lamoureaux said, “because there are two walk-in closets upstairs and a half bath with shower.”

The apartments all have dishwashers, microwaves and washer-dryer units. They are all-electric, with baseboard heaters.

Each apartment has one assigned covered parking space, generally below the unit, with overflow parking in covered bays to the rear.

Most of the units open onto a central park area, containing a number of mature trees and a grassy area, where some of the seed apparently washed away in Monday’s flood.

Unit sizes range from 830 to 1,125 square feet, with rents from $750 to $1,000 per month.

“Each unit is separately metered,” Lamoureaux said, “so the tenant is also responsible for the water and sewer charges.”

On the northeast corner of the complex, a gravelled path zig-zags down the hill into the Village shopping center. Arrangements are being negotiated for another path from the northwestern edge of the Camelia to the library.

While construction has taken 15 months, the project’s history goes back some four years. The original plan called for more than 80 apartments, some on the site being occupied, some farther down the presently vacant hill between the project site and Madison Avenue Development’s commercial buildings on the west side of Hildebrand Lane.

That project drew vehement protests from neighbors, particularly those in the adjacent Blue Heron condominiums, and stalled in the planning process.

When Lamoureaux, a longtime island builder, joined Madison Avenue three years ago, he re-tooled the plan.

“The problem was that the neighborhood didn’t like it, but the Comprehensive Plan calls for high density in this area,” he said. “So when I got involved, we reduced the density, and added to the quality of the units.

“And we put the park in front, instead of having cars parked everywhere.”

Community Events, April 2014

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