It's Anchors away for development

If you drive down to the Port of Manchester, be ready for a big change. Last week, the waterfront area looked like a meteor hit the lot at the northeast corner of Main and Colchester, now the ground is being leveled and the foundations installed on a new multi-use complex.

The lot adjacent to the Manchester branch of the Kitsap Regional Library and across from the Family Inn at Manchester was once a commercial complex holding a convenience store and an art gallery. Now it’s a a flattened canvass of dirt ready for a new building.

“Looks like we’re finally starting,” said owner and developer David Hopkins, of Gig Harbor. “God, it’s just going to fit right in here.”

The three-story unit, named The Anchors at Manchester, is the first of what could be several new developments in the un-incorperated community.

Hopkins will own and operate his own grocery store within the building, with a small wine bar on the side. He compared it to smaller grocery chains such as PCC or Metropolitan Market.

Other ground-floor units will take in other commercial businesses.

The development, despite its three stories, hasn’t been especially controversial among area residents. Some who oppose three-story buildings in the area, including Manchester Inn owners Doug and Cerissa Holme, said they actually like this new development, due to its interesting architecture and designated view corridors.

Hopkins has had his opponents to the project, especially in the midst of a debate over the area’s building regulations. Many contend the Manchester Community Plan limits buildings to two stories, but soft language has left it legally without teeth.

The document clearly limited the height of buildings to 35 feet, but used the word “encourage” when discussing the two stories.

But Hopkins’ process has been less contentious compared to the controversial Colchester Commons directly across the street. By comparison, the Colchester Commons fills out the space more, prompting many residents to appeal the proposed construction.

The Colchester Commons is on the go, but not what Hopkins had hoped for the Manchester area.

“It really disappointed us,” he said. “The reason we came here is if we made a great building, it would set the stage. It just doesn’t have any charm.”

Hopkins is finishing off the building permits for the construction but has already been green-lighted to start laying the foundation for his buildings.

Hopkins is already talking with parties interested in purchasing a unit.

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