Workshop development proposed for New Brooklyn Road

Bainbridge Island has plenty of crafty folks from woodworkers, to artists, to mechanics. And while many might have the skills, not everyone has the place to use them.

That is, until IslandCraft comes to Bainbridge.

IslandCraft will be a light industrial development offering shop spaces for artists to professional craftsmen.

“The reason we picked that name is because we’re trying to create a unique place for people to make things,” said Tony Puma, a representative of the project who spoke to the Design Review Board on Monday.

“They use their brains, their hands and their tools,” he said.

IslandCraft will certainly be unique. Unlike other light industrial areas, its shops will be privately owned, like condominiums.

“It allows people in small businesses to purchase a unit that is zoned for manufacturing and be able to work their projects,” Puma said.

But it’s not just small business owners. Anyone can nab a spot at IslandCraft.

So far, according to Puma, interest for IslandCraft has been expressed by car enthusiasts and others.

“One fella who’s going to import a lobster boat hull from Maine,” Puma said. “He will build the deck and the house.”

But the development isn’t just meant to be a place to manufacture things — it’s designed to be a community.

“There will be a commonality and purpose. In this case it’s making and building things,” Puma said. “And some sort of social interaction. There needs to be a way for people to interact with each other.”

“The third thing, which is essential, is self-governance,” he added. “They own it, they aren’t renters.”

Shop owners will certainly have a space to share their common interests, as the center of IslandCraft will boast a community area. It isn’t exactly known how the community area will evolve, but planners do have some idea.

“There will definitely be some pizza and beer,” Puma said. “I have a barbecue that will be going there.”

“Everyplace needs a heart,” he added. “And this will be that.”

Puma met with city officials to explain his proposed project at this week’s meeting of the Design Review Board.

Most of the conversation at the meeting revolved around buffer zones and tree retention issues. The buildings themselves didn’t draw too much criticism by the board.

The corrugated metal buildings are fabricated, and American-made, by Bison Steel in Minnesota. Each shop will be approximately the size of a four-car garage.

Burgundy will be the dominant color, except for the rear of the building which will be gray to provide a neutral color to fade into the background for neighboring homes.

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