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Island Gateway project moves forward

The Island Gateway would be a mixed-use development, featuring museums, retail, restaurants and office space. - Graphic courtesy of Coates Design Architects
The Island Gateway would be a mixed-use development, featuring museums, retail, restaurants and office space.
— image credit: Graphic courtesy of Coates Design Architects

Following months of work with the city's Design Review Board and local government, developer Bill Carruthers will pitch his newest ideas to the Planning Commission Thursday evening.

The development on the northwest corner of Winslow Way and State Route 305 would create a new space for the Kids Discovery Museum (KiDiMu) retail and restaurant space, an art museum and office space with underground parking.

The development, created by Carruthers' Island Gateway LLC and designed by Coates Design Architects, would occupy a 5.28 acre piece of land on that corner.

The property features some environmentally sensitive areas including wetlands and buffer zones along the ravine that flows through the parcel.

Carruthers said a lot has changed since the pre-application phase in April. At the time, the Design Review Board criticized the project for looking too modern and not fitting with Bainbridge's image. The board has since recommended approval of the application contingent on the developers addressing a portion of the art museum design.

City staff also recommends the application be approved with several conditions.

Carruthers said he has worked extensively with the board to create a look that fits with the character of the island.

One change that excites Carruthers is the possibility of hiring a local artist to design the southeast corner of the art museum, which people arriving from the Seattle ferry will see first. That decision would be made by the museum's board of directors.

Carruthers said the design is more open, featuring courtyards and other new amenities that weren't in the original plans.

At Thursday's meeting there will be a brief time for public comment before the commission discusses the issue. Following a presentation from city staff, the developers will field questions from the commission, Planning Director Kathy Cook said. The commission then decides whether or not to approve or deny the application. After receiving a new staff report, Cook makes a decision that is the official stance of the city, though it can be appealed.

Carruthers said it has been extremely helpful working with the city on the project, and he hopes the development will add to many facets of Bainbridge.

"Taking this on now, in this difficult economic time, should bring some life and employment as well as some cultural value to the community," he said.

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