“Landing sold again, this time to Montana interestA local representative vows a scaled-down plan, with no hotel.”

"Bainbridge Island's trophy development property has changed hands for a third time.The new owners say their version of the Winslow Landing project will be less dense and intense than its predecessor. And they say that this time, it will really happen. "

  • Wednesday, July 25, 2001 6:00am
  • News

“Bainbridge Island’s trophy development property has changed hands for a third time.The new owners say their version of the Winslow Landing project will be less dense and intense than its predecessor. And they say that this time, it will really happen.The earlier design had too much residential density, and too much commercial and general retail space, said attorney John Hemplemann, spokesperson for Washington Development, the property’s new owner.Based in Missoula, Mont., Washington Development exercised an option to purchase the 4.5-acre plot from Security Properties, a Seattle-based developer that acquired the land from federal bankruptcy court in January.Hempelmann declined to characterize the relationship between Washington Development and Security Properties, but said that Washington’s option to buy existed when Security bought the site. Representatives of Security Properties could not be reached for comment this week.Hemplemann said the new ownership can provide the financial stability and know-how to get the long-pending project off the ground.These are people who have been developing successfully in Montana and the Southwest, he said. They are looking at this as their entree into the Puget Sound market, and they don’t need to borrow any money.Past projectsThe Winslow Landing project was originally proposed by Jason Lowe, then of Poulsbo. In 1998, Lowe submitted plans for a development that included a hotel and tavern, condominium residences and a mix of retail and office development.Work never started. Lowe used the property as collateral for some $4.5 million in loans, and then during a period of legal troubles, turned the project over to islander Gale Cool, who had been his project manager.Cool redesigned the project. Under his plan, the hotel and tavern were out, but the number of residences had increased to 225, with 60,000 square feet of retail and office space.But some of Lowe’s creditors foreclosed on the property, seeking to force its sale to satisfy their loan. Ultimately, the matter was resolved in the bankruptcy court in January when Security Properties outbid Cool for the property.Hempelmann said his clients have revived the Cool application with the city planning department, and are now evaluating exactly what they want to do.There will be no hotel, he said. And while we’re not ruling out anything else in the existing application, the least likely part to go forward is the full-service restaurant.He indicated that the intensity of use Cool planned will be scaled back. He also said that the new plan will be open to Winslow Way, rather than creating a solid facade along that street.There was too much mass right on Winslow Way, creating a walled-off effect, he said. We’re going to open it up, which will make it more of a park. And the grass will grow better without a solid south wall.Hempelmann said the new project would, in all likelihood, put the parking underground, and might well add additional ferry parking for both commuters and non-commuters.Underground parking is expensive, but there’s an economy of scale with this project that makes it attractive. Underground parking makes the surface more valuable from an esthetic and economic point of view, he said.Hempelmann estimated that Washington Development will file its application sometime in the fall. Between now and then, he said his clients plan to hold meetings with the neighborhood.Hempelmann, a Bainbridge resident, said both he and his clients are aware of the project’s high profile in the community.This will be an eastern anchor to Winslow Way, like Winslow Green is to the west, he said. We appreciate the importance of this project to the city and the neighborhood, and will plan accordingly. “

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