Coming soon: Harbor Square development

The marketing is under way in venues much more glamorous than this sign off Winslow Way. - DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo
The marketing is under way in venues much more glamorous than this sign off Winslow Way.
— image credit: DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo

Marketing is under way, with a groundbreaking slated for summer.

Prospective buyers visiting the the 180-unit Harbor Square condominium project might be a little surprised by what’s there now: 4.3 acres choked with weeds and blackberry brambles.

But groundbreaking on the upscale condominium and retail hub across the street from the Winslow ferry terminal is scheduled for August, a spokesman for the project said this week, and the first residents could move in by spring of 2006.

Glossy magazine ads for the condos and a mini-movie at, tout Bain­bridge Island as a “charming hamlet by the sea” just a serene ferry ride away from bustling downtown Seattle.

Buyers are scrambling for information on how they, too, can have “the best of both worlds,” said a spokeswoman for the firm marketing the project.

“We’re getting tons of interest,” said Janice Brown of Williams Marketing in Seattle, which is advertising the condos in in-flight magazines on United and Alaska Airlines flights. “We’re getting lots of emails and phone calls, and I have two people who want to buy today.”

Promotional events for the condo project will be held on the Seattle-Bainbridge ferry runs on four dates starting this week, with free food, drinks, and brochures highlighting the condo community’s features, as well as the island way of life.

“We are trying to interest people on the island who want to live closer to the ferry terminal, and people in the city might want to get a little closer to the beauty of Bainbridge, where life is a little more down to earth,” said Ginger Vaughn of the island-based public relations firm Quinn Brein.

A series of VIP and real estate broker open houses are scheduled in coming months at the Harbor Square Condominium sales office, in refurbished space at 554 Winslow Way.

The project is being developed by Opus Northwest, which plans to build 180 condo units and 22,000 square feet of retail space, clustered around a courtyard.

The complex will feature landscaped grounds and underground parking for about 475 cars.

The project site plan was approved several years ago under the ownership of a Montana-based developer, who then sold the project to Opus Northwest.

Final, modified plans for the project are to be submitted to the city for building permits by April 7, a spokesman said.

Opus hopes to get construction under way in August, and have the project complete at the end of next year.

Bob Katai in the city planning department said Thursday that while it’s his understanding the building permit applications will be filed in early April, he did not know how long the plans would take to review.

Marketing materials for Harbor Square apparently were crafted to appeal to people in Seattle and elsewhere longing for a retreat from their high-powered business world.

“Savor the quaint sophistication,” the film’s narrator says. “It’s island living, at its best.”

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