Business

UPDATE | T&C remodel will boast a drive-thru, more vegetation and additional parking

Plans for the remodel of Winslow’s Town & Country Market are moving along and boasting many new improvements including pocket parks, more parking, and even a drive-thru grocery window.

Town & Country officials met with Bainbridge Island’s Design Review Board Monday to discuss their pre-application for a remodel. The downtown market will remain within its same footprint, which has provided planners with unique challenges fitting the needs of customers under one roof, and easing the burden of limited parking.

“The largest hurdle for the project has been the site,” said Susan Allen, the project’s coordinator and a Town & County board member.

“Having easily accessible parking is the lifeblood of a market,” she told the review board. “It’s important for us to stay in the same footprint, to keep the store familiar to our community.”

The board’s initial response was overwhelmingly positive toward the plans, aside from a few critiques about a lack of transparency into the store from passers-by on Winslow Way.

The board appreciated the market’s approach toward more greenery and vegetation at on the site, pedestrian connections from Winslow Way to Waterfront Park, and the inclusion of a drive-thru grocery window.

“It is the wave of the future,” Allen said.

“We don’t have it all figured out, operationally speaking, but we do recognize the needs of the community,” she said.

“It’s not going to offer everything in the market, but it will provide the ability to come by and pick up something after work,” Allen said.

Bringing the building up  to modern speed is the ultimate goal of the major makeover of the grocery, which originally opened in 1957. Bainbridge has grown considerably since then, so much that the market considered relocating to High School Road near the Ace Hardware store before deciding to go ahead with the remodel.

A new location would have been the more cost-effective move for the company, but its board ultimately decided that, beyond dollars and cents, the market is an irreplaceable part of downtown Winslow.

“T&C sits on sacred ground,” said architect Pricilla Zimmerman, who is working on the project along with architect Devin Johnson.

“This is not about a store remodel,” Zimmerman told the design review board. “It’s about maintaining our social fabric, keeping a downtown with depth that accommodates our aging population and generates opportunities for our younger generation.”

Market officials and architects view the remodel as “recycling” the building, and it will certainly take on a more green look with the addition of plants and vines occupying vertical space around the store.

“This allows the urban landscape to embrace natural green spaces,” Zimmerman said.

The proposed design will open up space around the market for additional parking, particularly around the east side of the building. The market will also gain some new parking spaces through adjustments to the loading dock on the east side.

Parking at the north side, along Winslow Way, will be preserved though an adjacent new pocket park that will be constructed to lead shoppers into the new northeastern entrance.

The signature Town & Country sign that has brightened Winslow Way since the market’s start will be preserved. It will be rebuilt, however, and moved approximately 5 feet to the east.

Other additions include accommodations for bicycles at each entrance and pedestrian paths to enhance the connection between Winslow Way and Waterfront Park.

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