New rental housing for Lopez

  • Thu Aug 13th, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

Submitted by Housing Lopez

Housing Lopez, a nonprofit dedicated to building affordable rental homes for Lopez’s working families, announced major funding advances in July for its first project, the FishBay Cottages. These include HL’s first major grant — $200,000 from The Norcliffe Foundation, a Washington-based family endowment that seeks to improve community life in the 11 counties of the Puget Sound area. In addition, Washington Community Reinvestment Association approved a bank loan for FishBay in the amount of $550,000. When combined with generous donations from the Lopez community of $600,000 to date, these new developments bring total committed funds for the FishBay development to $1,350,000.

Housing Lopez expects to complete funding for FishBay with continued generosity from the Lopez community, additional grants, and funds from the San Juan County Real Estate Excise Tax, with the initial application to be filed in August.

The Norcliffe Foundation gift and the WRCA loan commitment give HL increased credibility as it seeks grants from other foundations for FishBay and future projects. Meanwhile, Housing Lopez has announced a great opportunity for Lopez community involvement. A local donor has pledged $50,000 to match new local donations of $50 to S1,000.

With fund raising well underway, final plans for construction of the FishBay Cottages, six affordable rental homes to be located on previously purchased land on Fisherman Bay road , are progressing apace. The construction is expected to begin in spring 2021, when site conditions are suitable, and to be completed in approximately six months.

Wardell Architects on Lopez have developed a thoughtful site plan for the community of six cottages surrounding a common area. Currently HL is working with Sage Building Solutions, a Lopez company, on a site development budget. In that process, local subcontractors have provided valuable advice that have improved plans and reduced projected costs. Star Surveying of Friday Harbor has generously donated site survey services to the project. In early August, HL expects to submit permit drawings to San Juan County for review and approval.

Method Homes of Seattle, with a fabrication plant in Ferndale, has completed the fabrication drawings and specifications for the 843-square feet, two-bedroom, modular cottages. Modular fabrication is an efficient and time-saving approach for this project. It reduces the higher costs normally associated with bringing materials to the island. All labor takes place in a controlled environment at their factory, not affected by weather conditions, with greater efficiency and little waste. The results are high-quality sustainably built homes. Method Homes utilizes environmentally sustainable materials.

Being able to simultaneously build the homes and prepare the site shortens the overall construction time. When the grading and installations of foundations and utilities are complete, the homes will be trucked to the site and placed. The local site contractor will then hook up to utilities, install decks and do final grading.

The final touches will involve landscaping to enhance the living experience, balancing openness and needs for privacy, with a completion date in the fall of 2021.

As noted, fund raising continues and donors can take advantage of the generous matching offer for local gifts of $50 to $1,000 by visiting the website,, or by mailing a donation to Housing Lopez, PO Box 493, Lopez Island, WA 98261.