Port of Kingston making big waves for the future

KINGSTON — The Port of Kingston Board of Commissioners got a glimpse into the future for the core of Apple Tree Cove at its monthly meeting Wednesday night, including a look at the possibility of a passenger-only ferry system.

Richard Dunlap of Heron Point Development Co. LLC presented alternatives for new commercial and transportation developments that involve the Port of Kingston, Washington State Ferries and Kitsap Transit.

Dunlap was retained by the port to design a work plan and three-phase process for future redevelopment of the commercial building that currently houses the Restaurant On The Dock. This portion of the port was not renovated in the late 1990s, while the surrounding parcels of land, including the parking lots and park, were redesigned.

The first alternative was a concept plan developed by Cutler Anderson Architects in January 2002. The plan gives the maximum use of the port’s land and shows a three-story complex for mixed-use occupancy, including a restaurant, offices and residential space.

While the current restaurant facility is only 4,800 square feet, the Cutler Anderson proposal suggests the use of nearly 50,000 square feet for the new building.

In order to accommodate the increase and still meet county zoning codes, the plan also calls for an underground or “below road grade” parking facility for 80 cars. The garage would be underneath Washington Boulevard. An amphitheater-type space would also be developed near the facility to block the view of the garage from Mike Wallace Marina Park.

The second alternative is a scaled-down version of the Cutler Anderson plan, with a two-story structure of 20,000 leasable square-feet. There would be commercial retail space on the ground floor with office space on the upper floor. Mike Wallace Marina Park would be retained, Dunlap said.

The third option would be a full-size design like the Cutler Anderson plan, but it would involve a transportation center, Dunlap explained.

Gary Johnston, the manager for the Port of Kingston, staff members of Kitsap Transit and Dunlap have designed a concept plan for a transportation base in Kingston.

The proposal includes a drop-off location for out-going ferry passengers and accommodations for van, buses and high-occupancy vehicles. It also has a 20,000 square foot business park for retail, office and restaurant space.

In addition to the motor vehicle transfer center, Kitsap Transit has proposed that the community be a port in its passenger-only ferry plan, which would provide service from Kingston to Seattle.

But that idea is dependent on voters in November and whether a one-third of one percent increase on sales tax is passed, said Richard Hayes, executive director of Kitsap Transit.

Drawings for the third alternative are in the process of being completed, Hayes said.

Dunlap encouraged the port to work with the bus agency.

“I would recommend to stop the development process today and enter into discussion with Kitsap Transit to discuss the feasibility of a transportation center with a passenger-only ferry,” he said, noting that even without the passenger-only ferry, it was still important to consider the transportation hub because of increasing traffic from the east side of the Sound.

“Given some level of investment, given your desire to have full-scale commercial retail and other mixed use and given the opportunity to attract a customer base you are not attracting now, your transportation base is looking better and better,” Dunlap concluded.

Hayes supported the third alternative in his presentation, noting that its easier to develop a transportation basis, then work on the economic development.

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