"For now, call it 'Re-Doogals'A new project looks for identity in an oft-traveled corner of town."
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:34 PM
"Like expectant parents, the backers of a mixed-use project at the corner of Winslow Way and Ericksen Avenue are having trouble coming up with just the right name.We started out calling it the Gateway Project, said Bror Elmquist, the project's manager. But people (would) think of the towing company. Somebody else started calling it 'Re-Doogals,' a reference to the restaurant-bar that formerly occupied the site. We don't really have a name for it yet.While still trolling for identity, the project on the site formerly known as Doogals does have a plan for what Elmquist calls a missing piece of downtown Winslow.The plan calls for nine upscale condominiums and 15,000 square feet of retail and office space, in a group of buildings around three sides of what is now a parking lot. Parking will be underground, and the middle area will be a landscaped courtyard complete with pools and fountains.We want it to be more than pedestrian friendly. We want a place for people to be, said architect Charles Wenzlau, who is designing the project in a joint venture with architect Frank Karreman.The idea is to have a gathering place, like the area in front of Bainbridge Bakers, Elmquist said, referring to the plaza area of Winslow Green. The buildings fronting on Winslow Way and the southern portion of Ericksen will be three stories, with retail on the ground floor, offices on the second floor and a single residence on the third floor.The driveway to the parking garage will open onto Ericksen north of the corner. To the north of that will be a small two-story building.It's almost like a little house, Elmquist said. It will step the scale of the buildings down as we go north on Ericksen, and will blend in with the houses north of the project.Running east to west along the north portion of the property will be a three-story building with offices on the ground floor and two levels of residences. The building will be set back from the north property line, and virtually all the existing trees will stay.The condominiums will all be one level, Elmquist said, except for the affordable unit. They will be reached by elevator from a private or semi-private lobby.No prices have yet been posted for the residential units, which will range from just over 1,300 to almost 2,000 square feet.While the retail and office mix has not yet been determined, Elmquist says the plan is to have a restaurant at the corner of Ericksen and Winslow.Wenzlau said the facades will be brick, to complement the existing buildings on Winslow Way.Local ownersThe site has been owned for some 50 years by the Magnano family of Seattle and Bainbridge Island.This is the value of having local ownership, Elmquist said. The family really insists on a quality project.The location made the site a tricky one, Elmquist said. The city wanted some right of way on the west, along Ericksen, and particularly on the Ericksen-Winslow corner because of plans to improve Ericksen and realign the intersection of Ericksen and Bjune Drive.On the other side, the city also wants to protect the ravine. Originally, the city wanted to require a 50-foot buffer from the edge of the ravine, and a 15-foot setback beyond that, which would have minimized the buildable space.Elmquist said he thinks a compromise will be possible, which would reduce the buffer but still protect the ravine.We have a grandfathered right to build a parking lot there, where the lot exists now, he said. When we do the project, we can come west 30 feet. We're taking away 3,000 square feet of asphalt, which has got to be an improvement for habitat and the environment.It marks the second significant Winslow Way redevelopment project announced in the past month. Indianola resident Earl Miller has filed a pre-application for a complex of buildings at the northeast corner of Winslow Way and Madison Avenue, where Lundgren station and the red-brick building housing Schmidt's Appliances, Paisley Place and Bainbridge Floor Covering now stand.The preliminary plans show a total of 22,580 square feet of retail space, and 17 residential units containing a total of 18,700 square feet. Two levels of underground parking would have space for 120 cars.Wenzlau is also the architect on that project; construction is not expected to start for several years.Elmquist said he hopes to complete the Re-Doogal's permitting process over the summer, and break ground by Labor Day. Construction will take a year, he said.Elmquist thinks that when the project is finished, it will re-unite the area between Ericksen and the ravine with the rest of the city. This is an extension of downtown Winslow, Elmquist said. It's an important corner, and with nothing there, it looks like a piece is missing. "