Permits sought for renovation of Larson Lumber Building

Bainbridge officials are reviewing remodeling plans for the Bainbridge Island Lumber Building.

The property is owned by Old Mill Place Properties, and the owners have applied for permits to have the building, located at 4566 Point White Drive Northeast, repaired and renovated.

The lumber building — previously known as the Larson Lumber Building — was built in the 1920s, and according to the city, was placed on Bainbridge’s historic register in 2018. The building was purchased last year by George Lobisser.

Records of the city’s Historical Preservation Commission note that the building was constructed in 1925 from stock from the Port Blakely Mill before the mill closed in 1927. The lumber business was owned jointly and successively by Louis Larson and his son Henry and brother-in-law Karl Kasperson, and it specialized in commercial and industrial lumber.

The Larsons sold the business in 1970 to Kasperson’s son, who incorporated the business and renamed it Bainbridge Island Lumber Company. The lumber company was sold and ceased operations in 1987.

Plans for the building include moving some interior walls, replacing any rotten siding or structural components, the minor relocation of some windows and doors, and replacing the roof. A portion of the flat roof will also be reframed for a gable.

The existing deck will also be repaired and replaced without any change in size, and approximately 52 unused creosote pilings will be taken out.

An inspection of the building last year found the structure of the building to be sound, mostly due to the quality of the “first growth” lumber that was used to construct it.

The existing parking spaces will be retained and won’t be expanded, and street improvements include a 6-foot-wide bike lane.

The land is currently zoned NCS (Neighborhood Service Center) and R-2 (Residential-2 unit per acre), and the building will be split into 65 percent light industrial and 35 percent office space.

Lobisser, the owner of the building, is CEO of RipeLocker, a Bainbridge-based company that makes low-pressure vacuum containers that can protect highly perishable food items while they are transported and stored.

Lobisser has told the city he wants to rehab the lumber building as a location for producing the vacuum equipment needed to reduce the pressure in the company’s containers.

Fewer than 10 employees are expected to work in the finished building.

The project needs a shoreline substantial development permit, a site plan and design review, and a conditional use permit to proceed. The plans will also need a review from Bainbridge’s Historical Preservation Commission.

City officials have started the environmental review of the proposed project, and the comment period runs until 4 p.m. Monday, July 29.

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