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Island Gateway set to sign up anchor tenant

After spending some time at KiDiMu, a mother and her children stop to watch Josh Pippinger of JP Landworks move some rocks around for a courtyard wall being built at the Island Gateway project. - Dennis Anstine/Staff Photo
After spending some time at KiDiMu, a mother and her children stop to watch Josh Pippinger of JP Landworks move some rocks around for a courtyard wall being built at the Island Gateway project.
— image credit: Dennis Anstine/Staff Photo

The Island Gateway development expects to solidify its future this week or next by signing a lease contract with an all-important anchor tenant.

Contract issues were still  being vetted by the principals, delaying an official announcement by the large Bainbridge firm that plans to move to the development.

“It’s going to happen, but they wanted to make the announcement when everything is taken care of legally,” said Andrew Lonseth of Asani LLC, the island firm developing Island Gateway.

Two other businesses and several retail stores are also in negotiations with Asani, which hopes to have tenants signed up soon for its four commercial buildings.

“We are in good shape now,” he said. “We have a strong combination of almost signed leases and strong interest. We should be fully booked on opening day or shortly thereafter. That will be late May or, it’s safe to say, early June.

The tentative opening of the four retail/office buildings is scheduled in conjunction with the Kids Discovery Museum’s first-anniversary celebration of moving into its new building in the north part of the development June 4.

The exact configuration of the four buildings, which is actually one building broken up into four separate, three-story spaces, depends somewhat on the tenants.

The first two floors of the “building” adjacent to the future Bainbridge Art Museum are owned by the museum, which will have a 95-seat auditorium on the first floor and offices and classrooms on the second floor.

Lonseth expects five retail businesses on the first floor of the other three “buildings,” including a restaurant operated by the owners of the former Real Foods grocery store. The top two floors will have six office units, Lonseth said, with the possibility of two of the six being subdivided.

The museum offices, which currently are in the space where the old Chamber of Commerce was, will move into the second-floor offices above the auditorium when it is finished – likely in late May or early June.

The remaining building on the site where the museum will be built is expected to be razed sometime this summer – though it’s possible that one part of it will be saved.

Lonseth said the second floor of the front part of the structure, which contains two apartments, is salvageable for the price of moving it.

“We’ve been trying to find someone to move it and haven’t been successful,” he said.

If it isn’t moved, the entire structure will be torn down, with some of the reusable parts put to use elsewhere or recycled.

Greg Robinson, executive director of the Bainbridge Art Museum, said that other than moving out of the current building in May or June a timeline hasn’t been established for the new museum’s groundbreaking or completion.

Lonseth said it will probably take between 12 to 14 months to complete construction of the museum.

Robinson said he and the museum board “are in the quiet phase of our capital campaign and in an organizational readiness stage. We are also making plans about how our involvement with the community and how the community can use our space. We’re not just going to be about art. It’s also about education and partnering with the community.”

Robinson said the designs of the museum’s exterior and interior components are now completed.

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