BI entry: From eyesore to eye-popping

World-class architecture, affordable housing, sustainable energy, green space, music, art — Cavatina has everything Bainbridge Islanders say they love.

But will that be enough?

Rik Langendoen of BI is a principal consultant for a concept that would turn the concrete Winslow ferry terminal waiting and parking areas into an area any city would envy.

In fact, Patrick Carata of the world-renowned Epstein Architecture, Engineering and Construction says in an email that he wishes it could be built in Chicago.

“But he fell in love with Bainbridge and wants to make it happen there,” Carata says of Michal Dziuda, head of Cavatina. “He loves music and the arts and has sponsored many philanthropic causes.

“I think you guys have just been handed the opportunity to convert that parking lot into something amazing — this is your gateway to the island for thousands of people — for some of them it’ll be how they formulate their first impression of Bainbridge.”

Langendoen admits the vision is big, but he hopes this gets the conversation started on what should be done with an area that some might even call an eyesore.

“What does the community want for its best and highest use?” Langendoen asked, adding that the land is one of the most sought-after in the Pacific Northwest, but it’s now essentially a parking lot. “We should at least have a conversation. Is there something better we could do with that property so that it’s an asset to the community?”

Langendoen did not mention Dziuda by name but said the vision for Cavatina comes from a man who grew up in Communist Poland where he wasn’t allowed to do anything. He has gone on to become one of the biggest real estate developers in Europe. He takes profits and invests them in nonprofits dealing with music, medical technology and education. “That’s what drives him,” Langendoen said.

He said they are ready for community feedback. “I’d love it if we can get clarity from the community” about what it wants. He hopes it will help shape the conversation for something inspiring, even if it’s not a concert hall. The group is more than willing to listen and make changes. “I’d never be involved in a project that would try to shove something” down a community’s throat, Langendoen said.

In a seven-minute video about Cavatina, it envisions a 500-seat indoor concert hall and a 600-seat outdoor amphitheater. Salish and Suquamish art inspires the fluid shape of the building. There would be classrooms for music and art.

Sustainable practices such as solar power generation, geothermal heating and cooling systems, and hydroponic indoor plants to promote healthy air quality would reduce energy consumption.

Matthew Coates of Coates Design Architects on BI says in the video that the project would totally transform the waterfront. It also would reinvigorate businesses on the east side of Winslow Way.

Carata says in the video that green space incorporated into the vision would be enjoyed by all. He says from afar at night it would be a “physical glowing object” while up close it would be an “ethereal experience.”

Langendoen said now is a great time to talk about this as the city is looking at its Comprehensive Plan, Housing Action Plan and many other issues that have commonalities with Cavatina, including affordable housing at what will become the former police station, where many want to see affordable housing. “We could build it. We could work with you,” he said.

“The client is really committed to affordable housing,” he said, adding the client has donated to Housing Resources Bainbridge.

Langendoen said the Growth Management Act requires more growth on BI, and that the city has targeted Winslow for much of that growth. This project would help with that.

While the video’s concept of Cavatina is huge that doesn’t mean it would end up that way. Negotiations with the eight property owners on the ferry terminal waterfront could turn them into smaller projects. Langendoen said the development group wants to figure out the feasibility of what can happen on the site, how to gain some kind of control of the properties, then the stage would be set for a conceptual design to take to the community for input.

Langendoen said the group held a dinner locally a few months ago for about 50 people and shared its vision. “The purpose was only to get the conversation going,” he said, adding many, but not all, were supportive. “It turned off some people. They said it needed to be more Bainbridge. I get it.” He added, “BIMA (Bainbridge Island Museum of Art) is our role model,” which was too modern-style for some.

The client also has donated to Bainbridge Performing Arts, and Langendoen said the concert hall would be bigger so would not directly compete with BPA. He added the concert hall would be of the highest quality. One already built in Poland is one of the most sophisticated in Europe. “Performers want to go there to be recorded,” he said. “Benaroya Hall can’t hold a candle to this one.”

An aerial view of the concert hall and the entire development.

An aerial view of the concert hall and the entire development.

The outside amphitheater.

The outside amphitheater.

Matthew Coates

Matthew Coates