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New buildings with old looks

(Top) The Seabreeze project at Madison/Bjune will cluster three “wharf-like” buildings around a courtyard, connected by catwalks (image courtesy of Sean Parker, Bainbridge Architects Collaborative). The Alliance project  (bottom) is designed to match the historic church building, now a law office, at the west end of the site. A “general store” building (not pictured) with a broad boardwalk will front Winslow Way, to the east of the parking area (image courtesy of Wenzlau Architects).  -
(Top) The Seabreeze project at Madison/Bjune will cluster three “wharf-like” buildings around a courtyard, connected by catwalks (image courtesy of Sean Parker, Bainbridge Architects Collaborative). The Alliance project (bottom) is designed to match the historic church building, now a law office, at the west end of the site. A “general store” building (not pictured) with a broad boardwalk will front Winslow Way, to the east of the parking area (image courtesy of Wenzlau Architects).
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Two developments under way in Winslow promise visual interest.

Going up in the figurative shadow of several larger developments this summer, two more mixed-use projects now under way continue the trend of infill in Winslow’s downtown core.

Neither may be described as transformative, in the sense of scale defined by the 180-unit Harbor Square development going up at the other end of town.

But the Seabreeze, located at lower Madison and Bjune Drive, and Chris Otorowski’s Alliance project on Winslow Way West both boast architectural features that the proponents say will honor the character of the neighborhoods around them. They’re also notable for their varied approaches to the urbanization of downtown.

Sandwiching 11 condominium units and 7,000 square feet of retail/office space on a 14,000-square-foot parcel, the Seabreeze probably boasts the highest density of any of the developments coming on line around town, architect Sean Parker said.

“It’s a good test case for the zoning downtown,” he said.

The development takes its name from the building it is replacing, a seven-unit, beach town-esque apartment building that was barged in from another location some decades ago.

That building was razed; in its place will be three structures arrayed around a courtyard and joined by what Parker described as “a network of catwalks and outdoor balconies.”

“It was meant to feel like it was on a wharf or on the beach, something along those lines,” he said. “It’s going to be an atypical property. We see a lot of shingles and gables around Winslow. This isn’t that, so it should be something different.”

Taking advantage of its marina-district location, Parker said, the building will offer direct and expansive views of Eagle Harbor for some units.

That was made possible by height – it will be one of the few four-story buildings in town – which in turn was made possible by depth, in the form of underground parking.

The developers also took advantage of an unusual opportunity to boost the density further.

As part of the deal that preserved the Islander Mobile Home Park, the city allowed sale of some of that property’s untapped density; the Seabreeze owners were the buyers, and the density was transferred to the Madison/Bjune corner.

The net result is what the planning department refers to as a “1.5 floor-area ratio,” or square footage that’s half-again the size of the parcel itself.

“It’s sort of everything that the code anticpates in intensifying density on the downtown sites, and it’s the first time we’ve seen that,” Parker said.

The units will enter the market at $200,000 to $1.1 million, said Jackie Syvertson, Windermere listing agent.

Project principals include Rolf Hogger and others in MRJ Constructors, which is also the contractor. The project should be completed in July or August 2006.

Older still

Also breaking ground this month is the Alliance project on Winslow Way, on a formerly wooded property behind Winslow Green.

Designed by architect Charlie Wenzlau for owner Chris Otorowski, the project will match the historic character of the buildings next door.

Otorowski purchased the historic Alliance church building and restored it as a law office in 1993, then renovating the parsonage as additional office space two years later. Those structures will stay put, with new development in an L-shape around them.

“The thing that is unique about the project is that Chris is sort of using those older buildings to establish a theme of ‘old Winslow’ for the project,” Wenzlau said. “The new structures will emulate the older structures that we’re saving.”

The Alliance project will have 38 residential units, including townhouses and “stacked flats” of 900 to 1,750 square feet, set away from the street. Listing agents will be from Coldwell Banker McKenzie Associates, but no prices have been set.

Approximately 15,000 square feet of commercial space, most of it retail, will be created in two buildings. One has been designed as a “general store” that will front Winslow Way, with a broad wooden boardwalk as its signature architectural touch.

Otorowski said he hopes to find a store or restaurant that will be appropriate to the space.

“I like the design, and I think it’s going to provide very interesting in-town living for people,” he said. “It’s about as close as you can get to the heart of downtown. I think it’s going to have a village feel to it, which is what it’s been striving for.”

Otorowski bought the land in 1998 without any particular plans for it. The project has been on the drawing board for two years.

“I didn’t have a lot in mind, but I figured that it was a nice downtown property,” he said. “I wanted to keep it as rural as possible, but the taxes are just killer. You can’t hold onto property like this, you have to develop it.”

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