Schuster promises big Holmes Harbor changes

A Seattle property developer who purchased the Holmes Harbor Golf Course and other development property in the Holmes Harbor area this past summer is letting the locals know exactly what his plans are.

In a scene dimly reminiscent of a similar explanation given by the previous owner of the property seven years ago — former Seattle Supersonics player Jack Sikma — Mark Schuster of the Schuster Group, Inc. showed off plans Thursday for a remodelled clubhouse, an waterfront inn, a community dock, an improved golf course and a cottage housing development. His audience included members of the Freeland Chamber of Commerce and of the Holmes Harbor Community.

During a Power Point presentation in the restaurant he now owns at the Holmes Harbor Golf Course clubhouse, Schuster stated his intention to spend about $1 million remodelling the clubhouse to turn it into a destination restaurant and bar. He said he will spend several million more building either a high-end inn or condominiums on six acres of Holmes Harbor waterfront he owns near the clubhouse building, and building a clustered cottage development — as well as several other homes — on fairway lots along the golf course.

Schuster purchased the property from Jack Sikma for about $2 million in July.

Since buying the property, Schuster has gotten a generally warm reception in the Holmes Harbor Community. Coming with his purchase was ownership of Holmes Harbor Community Partners, LLC, the successor in interest to the original developer of Holmes Harbor. With that ownership, Schuster and his company has control of the community’s restrictive covenants. In September, Holmes Harbor Community Partners, through one of Schuster’s employees, notified Holmes Harbor residents that they would be required to adhere to the covenants for all future building projects and major landscaping projects.

Speaking about the covenants after his presentation Thursday, Schuster said by enforcing the covenants, he is protecting property values, including his own.

“We feel as the manager off the (restrictive covenants) that they are to be adhered to,” he said.

Schuster’s own property improvements will begin Jan. 1, when he closes the clubhouse and its restaurant for remodelling. Changes planned for the building include a small addition to the dining area, a rebuild of a large view patio, and a complete redo of the clubhouse dining, kitchen and bar areas. The course’s pro-shop, which will remain open in a basement location until the renovations are completed in May, will also be remodelled in its current location. Outside, the building will receive new sidiing and the old clock tower that adorns the structure will be removed.

On the golf course, Schuster’s company will make a number of improvements over the next few years, including upgrading irrigation.

“Everything is going to be green,” he said with a laugh to his audience Thursday.

They got the joke. In dry years, portions of the course have in the past been allowed to turn brown and dry to conserve water. Schuster said much of the water — up to 1 million gallons a year — was simply being wasted by being shot into the woods by damaged or poorly adjusted sprinkler heads. Much of that sprinkler system has already been replaced. Water to keep the course green will come from the Holmes Harbor Sewer District treatment plant and from the Holmes Harbor Water Company.

Later phases of Schuster’s planned improvements will take place over the next five years and will also include the reconstruction of a large dock by the clubhouse and the establishment of a marina.

Schuster said all the improvements he is planning are intended to add value to his property. At the same time, he said anyone using the golf course or eating at the clubhouse restaurant will likely appreciate the aesthetic changes.

“It’s going to be really quite beautiful,” he said.

The golf course and clubhouse will remain open to the public.

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