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Townhomes planned on High School Road

A project that would avoid sensitive wetlands – and neighbors – could also bring the lowest home prices Bainbridge Island has seen for several years.

The Stonecress development would cluster 45 units on the southwest corner of the “Martin-Patterson” property, a 10-acre parcel at High School Road and Ferncliff Avenue. The builders have filed permit applications and a site plan with the city, and hope to break ground this summer.

“The exact mix of the floorplans is still a little fluid,” said David Smith, a principal with Highland Builders of Bremerton, “but it’s solidifying.”

In the current mix, the project would include 21 duplexes and three detached homes, totaling 45 units. The buildings would be two-story townhomes, Smith said, with no units above or below any others. Floor space would range from 1,200-1,400 square feet, although four units designated affordable would be as small as 900 square feet.

Surprisingly, half the units are expected to be offered at around $200,000, with several premium units boasting a downstairs “master suite” priced at around $230,000. The affordable units, Smith said, should go for $175,000.

The Winslow area has seen several similar projects in recent years, but all have fetched somewhat higher prices. Smith, who worked with island developer Kelly Samson on the modest Weaver Creek project, said the principals are targeting the same market segment – first-time buyers.

“We think we’re going to have younger people (just) starting out,” he said. “We’re thinking that’s a portion of the home-buying market that’s been ignored.”

The Martin-Patterson property – so dubbed for owners David Martin of Seattle and Michael Patterson of Bainbridge Island – has been eyed for development for more than a decade.

The property was the subject of considerable discussion during the comprehensive planning process in the early 1990s, and was zoned for higher density away from Ferncliff and a patch of wetlands.

The project responds by using High School Road for access. Plans call for a new street to be developed just east of Kitsap Bank, to reach both Stonecress and another parcel owned by Deschamps family interests.

The architect is Richard Bruskrud of the Seattle-based Mithun Partners.

Bruskrud is responsible for design of the award-winning Poulsbo Place project, which reclaimed a blighted neighborhood near downtown Poulsbo.

That development serves as something of a model for Stonecress.

“We’re excited about the homes he’s designed there,” Smith said. “It’s been a huge success.”

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