Friday, April 1, 2011

Island Gateway will give booming Bainbridge tech company room to grow - KITSAP SUN

By Tristan Baurick - KITSAP SUN
Posted April 1, 2011 at 5:53 p.m.

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— The Island Gateway development has snagged a fast-growing software company as its main commercial tenant.

Avalara, a Bainbridge-based tax-management software company, will take over 17,000 square feet of Island Gateway's recently-completed 30,000-square-foot commercial building, which sits between the Kids Discovery Museum and the planned Bainbridge Art Museum on Winslow Way.

"This space will allow us to stay on the island," Avalara CEO Scott McFarlane said.

He plans to hire 15 to 20 more people once Avalara moves in by the end of May.

The seven-year-old company has already outgrown two office spaces on Bainbridge while opening satellite offices in Seattle, California, Virginia and India. It employs 85 people at its Bainbridge headquarters, 12 people in Seattle and about 150 in its other locations.

Avalara spent the better part of a year looking for a Winslow building substantially larger than its current 8,000-square-foot Ericksen Avenue headquarters.

"We would have had to build a new space, so we started looking at moving to downtown Seattle," McFarlane said.

Island Gateway managing partner Andrew Lonseth has worked with Avalara on a lease agreement for about seven months.

"We're delighted to have these high-powered jobs staying on Bainbridge," he said.
Island Gateway, which occupies six acres of prime Winslow real estate, also recently signed leases for a restaurant and a natural cosmetics store. A women's clothing store is in the works for one of the last two remaining retail spaces on the ground floor of the three story building.

The restaurant, tentatively called "Radish," will be run by the former owners of Real Foods, a natural foods market and cafe that occupied a space about a block away. It will focus on natural, locally-grown cuisine and will have a full-service breakfast, lunch and dinner seating area, as well as a walk-up espresso counter.

Other amenities include a canopy-covered outdoor seating and a wood-fired oven for pizzas. The menu will have kid-friendly lunches for the KiDiMu crowd, and more high-end options for the art museum's evening patrons. Radish is expected to open during the summer.

The building also boasts a 100 seat auditorium for the art museum's use. The museum has claimed space for two classrooms and offices in the new building. Its board will move in soon as it ratchets up work on building the museum, which will take the place of an existing building at the northwest corner of the Winslow Way-Highway 305 intersection.

Lonseth said a second commercial building fronting Winslow Way should break ground this spring. The two-story, 10,000-square-foot building will take over the area formerly occupied by the Eagle Harbor Market building, which was torn down in November.

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