Aboutready to move in...

Published on Thu, Jul 1, 2004 by ack Kintner

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About ready to move in...

By Jack Kintner

Birch Bay native Duane Nelson would like to bury the telephone wires and power lines that circle Birch Bay between the beach and Birch Bay Drive. He’d also like to pull out the old concrete barriers called groins that run down the beach perpendicular to the road, and in general do what he can to enhance the Birch Bay Drive waterfront.

“I can’t do it myself, of course,” said Nelson, 41, “but in working with all the agencies in getting these condos built I can see how it would be possible.”

Nelson, along with partners Keith and Barb Troske and Tonia Thrift, is just about to finish an 18-unit, three-story condominium project called The Sands that now graces the north side of the Harborview/Birch Bay Drive intersection. The units run from roughly $175,000 to $265,000 and half are already sold.
Nelson’s father Richard developed Birch Bay Leisure Park in 1969, and five years later helped start Birch Bay’s water and sewer district. Father and son opened a Bellevue real estate business in 1990 but returned in 1999 to develop Point Whitehorn, and last year completed the Seaside Cottages near Terrell Creek.

A 1981 Blaine high school graduate, Nelson said he likes to find pieces of property to develop, do all his own permitting and design work and then consult with engineers and architects toward the end. The Sands project also included helping Carl and Diane Dufton remodel the old Clamdigger Drive-In next door to coordinate with the condo’s rustic look, highlighted with hand-hewn Douglas fir columns.

The units should be ready for occupancy by the end of the month. All will have stainless appliances, floors made of bamboo wood and what Nelson calls “high end” tile and carpeting. Parking will be on the east side of the three-quarter acre site.

“I’ve been working with the Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies on this project,” Nelson said, “because my property goes to the old meander line, and they all seem to be in favor of some kind of beach improvement. It’s just a matter of people making it happen.”