At Grow, we believe that what we do now affects future generations, so we’re trying to build a community that respects the resource and cultural needs of future generations. In this category we will be spotlighting forward thinking technologies and concepts being utilized at Grow, and in the wider sustainable development community.

A real sense of “neighborliness” in a community designed to foster closeness, connection and cooperation.

Amelia Parker had been following the work of Bioregional and its One Planet Living initiative for years, since the development of London’s famous BedZED zero-carbon community in 2002.

When she learned that there was another One Planet Community just a few miles away on Bainbridge Island – she was living in Bellevue at the time – she decided to visit and see environmentally friendly development firsthand.

She and her spouse found Grow Community. After speaking with residents, they made their move – to the Juniper building in the new Grove neighborhood.

It’s a real turn toward sustainability from her last home, a 1912 Craftsman bungalow. It was beautiful and twice the size of her current home, she says, but trying to modernize and maintain it was exhausting and expensive. Then there were the utility bills, which were through the roof. Despite making sure she was using cheap light companies, Amelia found that her bills were stacking up. Being such an old house, heating in particular was ver expensive.

“It’s lovely to be in a place where things simply work,” Amelia says of Grow Community, ” and if they don’t, maintenance is on it quickly, where good design minimizes utility bills – large, well-insulated windows make the space feel expansive and reduces the need for lighting – and makes caring for the space simple, so that time can be spent on other things.”

At Grow, she has found a simpler lifestyle, one that de-emphasizes the need for a car, with easy connections to local shops and merchants, and even travel hubs like the ferry system and regional rail.

“For the most part, I can walk to anything I need, including the ferry terminal,” she says. “My car is coming up on 193,000 miles, and I drive so little that I’m in no hurry to replace it. My spouse occasionally needs to travel to Vancouver for business meetings: before, he would have to drive to Everett to catch a train. Now he takes the ferry across and walks to King Street Station. Not having to deal with traffic does a great deal for our mental health!”

She also finds a real sense of “neighborliness” in a community designed to foster closeness, connection and cooperation.

“Last weekend I was out at the observatory with my next-door neighbors, after a thank-you dinner for looking after their cat while they were on holiday,” she says. “We will text one another: ‘I’m going to Silverdale, do you need anything?’ ‘I’ve got too much lettuce: can I bring you some?'”

She adds: “Seeing people from the yoga studio means stopping and chatting in the aisles of the grocery store. I lived in my previous home for 13 years and really didn’t have that sort of relationship with my neighbours; I’ve been here almost 18 months, and it’s very different.”

Does she recommend Grow Community?

“Yes, absolutely.”

 

Sharing our History + Celebrating our New Community Center

Grow celebrates the progress on our new Community Center with daylong events on Thursday, July 20.

We will be hosting lunch for the construction team, followed by an evening potluck and sharing of the Grow Community site history through many generations. Special guests will share family and neighborhood stories, including a visiting descendent of the pioneer Grow family.  This event will focus on history – no tours of the center or its features will take place, but see our schedule of upcoming events for future opportunities.

11.30am-1pm – Construction Worker Lunch
1pm-5pm – Feel free to walk by and see progress
6pm to 8pm – History Sharing and Potluck

LOCATION: 395 Ambrose Street, in the Park at Grow Community

 


UPCOMING EVENTS:

August (DATE TBD) – Neighborhood meeting on Community Center operations: This discussion will focus on answering questions about the center, understanding its availability, use and operating budget, and hopefully celebrating the certificate of occupancy!

September 14th – Community meeting on Emergency Preparedness. Grow residents are invited to a potluck dinner and discussion of community emergency preparedness. Guest speaker will be Scott James, author of “Prepared Neighborhoods” and Bainbridge Island resident

October (DATE TBD) – Community Harvest & Solar for the Community Center Celebration. Join us for a celebration of the harvest season, pumpkin carving, cider pressing, and official commissioning of the Community Center’s rooftop solar array!

Urban Land group visits Grow

The prestigious Urban Land Institute held its Spring Conference in Seattle in early May, and Grow Community was both hot topic and host.

Grow welcomed thought-leaders in spheres ranging from development to investment, planning and design, as they came to Bainbridge Island for site visits throughout the conference.

Grow has been part of the ULI conversation since the project began, our community being a case study for creating healthy places, promoting intergenerational living, and integrating sustainability at scale.

Discussion threads running through the week included:

Creating a legacy. Pooran Desai, founder of the organizations BioRegional, which established the One Planet Living Principles, described effort at Grow as a legacy – both for the region, and in changing the conversation around the way we develop future communities. While the project has had many twists and turns, its consistency around creating a place for all ages to be comfortable and live in a more sustainable way is a profound achievement.

Intergenerational living. Visitors from the ULI appreciated Grow’s commitment to developing a community with many varied home types, to give people at every stage of life a comfortable place to live. It marks a change from development patterns often seen in the United States, where we tend to segregate generations, versus other communities around the world that embrace keeping mixed generations together.

Sustainability. Many of the ULI visitors came from places where a push for sustainability is just beginning, compared to the Seattle region where it is becoming the norm. Visitors were impressed by the range of areas where Grow challenged the norm: energy, materials, solar, and open space. Built Green standards allowed us to use a local certification program and consider our efforts from a neighborhood level, integrating our sustainability goals through One Planet Living. Grow gave visitors a model they can follow and incorporate into their own communities.

The Grow Community development team and investors thank residents for continuing to allow for guests like ULI to visit. These visits and conversations plant the seeds for other communities to come. They also provide the inspiration for others to take on the challenges of sustainable growth and living – allowing others to take what we have learned here, and spread the best of what we have for our One Planet.

Grow sponsors new ‘terrestrial’ podcast on KUOW

Grow Community is all about making smart choices for the Earth – how we build and how we live.  Now we’re proud to sponsor the new podcast “terrestrial” on local radio station KUOW, exploring “the choices we make in a world we have changed.” Host Ashley Ahearn travels the country — from ranches in Oregon to churches in Colorado — to bring listeners stories about people making personal choices in the face of environmental change.

Subscribe to “terrestrial” through Apple podcasts, or listen online at here.

PSE celebrates Grow’s energy efficiency program

Puget Sound Energy visited Grow Community recently to celebrate the success of our Energy Efficiency program for Multifamily buildings.

Our development team and PHC Construction welcomed PSE officials for the occasion, to fete an effort that has been ongoing for several years.

Incentives from the PSE program helped offset costs for the heat pump hot water heating systems within the Salal, Juniper and Tsuga buildings.

Coupled with rooftop solar production, the program has greatly reduced energy costs in these multifamily buildings. Owners benefit additionally from solar power net-metering and production incentives.

We hope to repeat the program with other multifamily buildings now underway in Grow’s third neighborhood, the Park.

“It was a great morning visit, and an overdue tour for the PSE team that has been working with us to help Grow’s goals of energy efficiency,” said Greg Lotakis, project manager. “PSE has been a great partner.”

Grow Community’s multifamily solar program was chronicled recently at Solar Power World Online. Read the story here.

Grow Community featured in Dwell

If it wasn’t a challenge, it wouldn’t be worth doing.

That’s the conclusion of Dwell magazine, which spent time at Grow Community recently and liked what they saw.
Grow is currently featured at Dwell.com, the online portal that bills itself “At home in the modern world.”

“Who said making a better world would be easy?” the magazine says. “Just ask the cast of characters involved in Grow Community, a development on Washington’s Bainbridge Island that was designed with the ambitious goal of encouraging social interaction while achieving net-zero energy status. Building for the future, they’ve learned, is a constant work in progress.”

Read this great feature online at www.dwell.com.

There’s no place like Grow for the holidays

As the holidays approach, Grow Community puts a bow on another building and welcomes another season of lights across our beautiful neighborhoods.

In the Grove neighborhood, we’ve been approved for occupancy of the new 2-bedroom homes in the Tsuga building, and hope to see new residents joining us there in January. The “tall skinny” 3-floor home at the Tsuga is now nearing completion, and we’re checking off remaining punch-list items throughout the building.

Progress in the Park neighborhood continues with the Community Center‘s framing, roof and window work beginning next month and completion expected in spring.

 At the Lilac Townhomes, siding and interior work are well underway and the homes should be ready in late April. The Sage condominiums follow with roof and window work up next and anticipated completion in July.

That leaves only the Trillium and the Meadow Homes, which await building permits from the City – we look forward to starting these final structures so we can begin tidying up the last of our spaces and Grow Community moves toward final buildout.

We are grateful for everyone’s patience, as the big and small details come together and we move into our final year of construction.

Best and happy holidays to all!

Tread lightly on the earth, live healthy at Grow Community

When we set out to design the most sustainable, future-friendly community possible, we knew we were building more than homes. We were creating a whole new way of living, and a model for the world.

We started with the principles of One Planet Living – promoting sustainable, healthy lifestyles through low-impact construction and high-quality materials. Culture, community, equity and economy were our guiding principles, health and happiness our end product.

We haven’t backed down from the challenge. Homes in our first two neighborhoods, the Village and the Grove, have earned national and international acclaim for their thoughtful design and construction. Each neighborhood is designed around vegetable gardens, fruit groves or open spaces, with native plants and vegetation creating natural and inviting places for children and adults to enjoy.

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Grow offers a “five minute lifestyle” where residents can walk/ride/roll to local amenities and urban attractions in Winslow town center, reducing dependency on the automobile. Spacious designs offer room for families, while single-level living options mean owners can age in place in security and comfort.

We’re all about bringing people together – a new community center will provide a space for classes, gatherings and community events, bringing residents and neighbors together throughout the seasons.

Along the way, Grow has become the largest planned solar community in Washington state – with more clean energy-producing rooftop PV systems being added all the time.

As we enter our third and final phase, the Park neighborhood, we’re proud of what we’ve achieved. A healthy community of satisfied residents and, we believe, an inspiration that others can follow for forward-thinking, sustainable urban design.

Visit Grow Community today, and let us share it with you – a new way of living, at one with the future and the world.

Construction Update: Autumn settles in, Grow construction strides on

Leaves are turning in the Grove as our second neighborhood settles into autumn, with completion due before the darker months descend.

The Tsuga multifamily building pushes forward at a steady pace with completion of half the units by end of September, and the remainder the following month.The last Woodland Home at the south end of the grounds is also scheduled for a September wrapup and occupancy.

Final landscaping around the Grove will begin mid-September, with construction activity quieted down by Halloween.

In the Park, our third and final neighborhood, framing of the Sage and Lilac buildings move along smoothly and should be done in October, when roofing will commence. The plan is to “dry in” and begin interior work prior to winter setting in. The Trillium and Meadow homes are going in for permitting, with a push to begin garage construction this year.
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The Park’s central greenway is now being graded and stabilized for the rainy season, with “Fleur de Lawn” field and landscaping to begin in the spring of 2017.

Bridging the Grove and the Park is our Community Center, and permits are now in hand with foundation and framing coming very soon?

What do we have planned for this new community gathering place? A flexible, simple and beautiful space that honors our One Planet goals of mindful, low-impact living.

Summer draws us to the Park

You can’t say Grow without Community – and our next phase, the Park, puts an exclamation point on it!

Our planned Community Center (to be constructed at the north end of the Park) is now under review by the city, and we’re counting on input from the public as we move the project forward. Watch for more news about the center and your chance to help us shape what is sure to be a great amenity.

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Elsewhere in the Park, midsummer finds foundations for the Sage and Lilac buildings are complete, with framing to begin next week. We expect framing for both structures to go up quickly, as we’re “panelizing” the construction to reduce onsite waste.

The Trillium multifamily building, which will anchor the south end of the grounds, is going through final designs and should be in for city review soon.

Meanwhile our second phase, the Grove, begins to wind down with ongoing move-ins and final wrap-up set for fall.

Grow recently “went live” on the Multiple Listing Service through Windermere, and demand is hot! Several homes went under contract within hours, and a flurry of new inquiries rolled in from prospective buyers.

Join them! Stop by the Grow Community model unit today, and see the fine new homes are coming online by the week.