After a delay caused by the pandemic, developer Scott Thompson said construction of new homes may begin soon on the hillside across from Safeway. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times

After a delay caused by the pandemic, developer Scott Thompson said construction of new homes may begin soon on the hillside across from Safeway. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times

More housing on horizon as projects move forward

A downtown Oak Harbor business will also be getting a big makeover.

Seventeen residential construction projects in various stages of completion could bring in more than 500 housing units to Oak Harbor, and a longtime business in the city’s downtown is getting a major facelift.

During an April 28 workshop, city staff presented Oak Harbor City Council members with a list of 29 development projects that were active in the month of March. The list was a mix of housing, business, school district and city projects that staff from the development services department had worked on.

A recent report found that Oak Harbor needs to add 78 housing units per year for the next 15 years to keep up with expected population growth.

Two of the largest projects on the list have been relatively quiet over the past year. One developer said construction will begin soon, while the other has hit a wall.

The Hillside project in the clearcut area above Safeway is moving forward, according to developer Scott Thompson. The project was listed as having 192 single-family lots.

Thompson said residents may see construction starting soon.

“I would say we’re building this summer,” Thompson said. “It’s imminent. We’re just waiting on that last permit.”

Thompson said COVID-19 restrictions last spring slowed the project down but that the process to get the project permitted was not any slower than usual.

“It just takes time,” he said.

Thompson said he did not know what pricing would look like yet on the houses and said the cost of building materials has “gone haywire” in recent months.

Thompson is an experienced developer who has worked in other areas of the country and is behind the proposed Wright’s Crossing, a housing development south of the city that has failed to move forward because of Island County zoning laws.

Another housing development, located on the south side of the city, hit a snag when two partners took a third partner to court on allegations of mismanagement. The Garry Oaks plat was planned as 135 single-family homes on a property in the southwest part of the city off Highway 20.

According to court documents, two partners alleged the third partner mismanaged the project and asked a judge to remove him. They also asked that the company, Gary Oaks, LLC, be dissolved. It is unknown what will happen to the property.

The city’s list of projects includes several multi-family housing developments under construction or planned for the future.

The largest apartment building being built in the city is a 60-unit complex on Southwest Mina Lane called the Park Terrace Apartments, which is under construction.

The construction site located across the street from the Oak Harbor Post Office is going to be a 20-unit apartment building. A representative for the investment company that owns the property said he expects it will be finished by November.

A 16-unit apartment building called the Harbor Station Apartments is under construction on Northeast Izett Street.

Staff reviewed a project called the Barrington Oaks Cottages on Southeast Barrington Drive. It was described as five, 1,000-square-foot standalone cottages and one duplex.

The McKinney Place plat on Southwest Third Avenue has plans for 20 attached townhomes on a now-vacant lot.

The Town and Country Mobile Home Park has plans to add 51 new spaces to its property on North Oak Harbor Road.

In addition, a seven-unit condominium was listed as in the pre-application process on Southeast Pioneer Way.

The list also showed the status of a few single-family housing developments.

Staff have issued permits for 16 single-family homes at Howard’s Pointe plat off Fort Nugent Road, and the project is currently under construction.

The Wynn Short plat on Southeast Ely Street will have four single-family homes and was listed as under construction.

Staff were working with the property owner on a development with 46 single-family lots on Southwest Swantown Avenue called the Marin Woods preliminary plat.

The list and supporting documents also included several commercial building projects.

Part of the Oak Harbor Cafe and Lounge on Southeast Pioneer Way will be demolished. Property owner Ken Huang said the lounge portion of the building will be knocked down in favor of a paved parking lot, and the facade of the cafe will get a facelift. Demolition will likely happen in a few weeks. He said he would auction some items such as signage from inside the building and would post updates on the business’s social media page.

Also, there is a site plan in review for an Oak Harbor U-Haul rental and storage facility in the north end of the city off Highway 20.

A coffee kiosk on the same lot as the former Office Max was listed in pre-application status.

The McDonald’s restaurant was demolished, and a new one is currently under construction. A sign on the fence in front of it said it will be completed by July.

Howard’s Pointe off Fort Nugent Road is among a number of developments under construction on North Whidbey. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times

Howard’s Pointe off Fort Nugent Road is among a number of developments under construction on North Whidbey. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times

A fence surrounds an apartment complex rising across from the Oak Harbor Post Office. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times

A fence surrounds an apartment complex rising across from the Oak Harbor Post Office. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times

The apartment building across the street from the post office

A fence surrounds an apartment complex rising across from the Oak Harbor Post Office. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times

Owner of the Oak Harbor Cafe and Lounge Ken Huang points to the lounge section of the building that will be demolished in a few weeks. The outdoor dining area will stay and the parking lot will be paved. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times

Owner of the Oak Harbor Cafe and Lounge Ken Huang points to the lounge section of the building that will be demolished in a few weeks. The outdoor dining area will stay and the parking lot will be paved. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times

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