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UPDATE | More window views for T &C remodel find favor with design board
Town & Country Market officials went back to the drawing board after hearing concerns earlier this month from the city’s Design Review Board.
In a meeting Monday, the board was pleased to see that the issue of limited exterior views had been addressed and will be incorporated into the company’s expansion plans.
“A long ways from the Nakata Meat Market days,” noted Mark Levine of the board at the end of the discussion.
“It’s definitely (Town & Country’s) flagship store, and it’s beautiful,” he said.
Town & Country has increased the percentage of window visibility for the center section of the building facing Winslow Way. People passing in front will now have a view directly into the store through 8-foot-tall windows.
The window sills will be lowered to sit level with the current sidewalk outside.
Since the elevation of the sidewalk is higher than the store’s main floor, the plan will have room to incorporate shorter cooler cases to be stationed underneath the lowered window paneling.
Prior to the changes, the plans established a view into the center section of the store through windows at near second-story level. Town & Country officials explained the reason for the higher windows were to allow ample room for their tall beverage coolers to sit underneath.
At an Aug. 5 meeting with Town & Country, Alan Grainger, a member of the Design Review Board, cited design guidelines that ban blank wall space in the city’s center.
The design rules require building facades along Winslow Way to provide 80-percent visibility to their interior. The market’s plan at the time of that meeting achieved 41-percent visibility.
At Monday’s meeting, Town & Country CEO Bill Weymer said the window installation into the plan required quite a few changes to the interior of the store.
The market was forced to forfeit more than 100 linear feet of shelving and reduce the size of the production areas on either side of the center section where the window units will be in place. This includes the bakery and sushi areas.
“It’s not ideal. We do think we’re compromising the experience,” Weymer said. “But we do appreciate the guideline and calling for visibility and transparency.”
The board voted unanimously to accept the plan changes.
Town & Country Market announced their remodel plans last year and hoped to finish the project by late 2013.
The venerable downtown grocery was opened by John and Mo Nakata and Ed Loverich in 1957. The company is still owned by members of the Nakata family, and the business includes four other stores - Ballard Market, and Central Markets in Poulsbo, Shoreline and Mill Creek - as well as the MiddleField Farm on Bainbridge Island.