Jerry Oliver, right, and crew members Mark Warden and John Sorg frame up Oliver’s future retail space. Photo by Laurelle Walsh

Jerry Oliver, right, and crew members Mark Warden and John Sorg frame up Oliver’s future retail space. Photo by Laurelle Walsh

By LAURELLE WALSH

After months of site preparation, a combination retail/lodging facility at the south end of Winthrop’s downtown business district is beginning to take shape.

Jerry and Cyndy Oliver are the owners and developers of the 4-acre property at 414 Riverside Ave., near the east landing of the Highway 20 bridge over the Methow River. Currently under construction is a future retail space with commercial kitchen from which they hope to “host events for Winthrop,” Cyndy Oliver said. “We’re still coming up with the right idea and mix for the retail space.”

They plan to open the retail operation in April or May of next year before beginning construction on a farmhouse-style inn with “roughly the same footprint as Emy’s house,” the 1930s-era home that once graced the property, Oliver said.

The couple purchased the property in 2009 with the intention of turning the existing house into a bed and breakfast, Oliver said. After learning that necessary infrastructure upgrades would be unfeasible, the Olivers looked into moving the building before settling on donating it to the fire district for live-fire training in early 2012.

“It has taken us a lot of steps before we could even start construction,” Oliver said, “but we are really trying to do it right.”

Working with the Town of Winthrop, the Olivers went through the shoreline permitting process before breaking ground. They also had to connect the property to the public water supply since the former home had relied on its own spring-water system.

The development plan called for beefed-up storm drainage for the property, but the owners really had to hustle last spring when irrigation water from the leaky Fulton canal began flowing onto the site. Jerry Oliver and a crew from Brandenberg Construction quickly lined the ditch above the property, largely stemming the flow, according to Cyndy Oliver.

Since the property is in the town’s business II district, the buildings will have to comply with Winthrop’s Western-theme exterior construction standards, like all properties in the downtown area.

“We want to make it look like an old homestead,” Oliver said.

She envisions a farmhouse with a wrap-around porch, “where guests can relax and hang out.” A rear courtyard will accommodate outdoor gatherings. The seven to nine rooms will have private baths, and breakfast will be served in the inn.

“We want it to be fun for groups to stay there,” said Oliver. They are calling it the Three Bears Inn.

The commercial kitchen in the adjacent retail space will be equipped to host large events such as weddings and reunions, or smaller gatherings such as birthday parties and rehearsal dinners, said Oliver.

The facility will provide parking for 14 to 20 vehicles, and a semi-circular driveway off Riverside Avenue will be sited where a garage now stands.

The Olivers are doing their own contracting with help from a small crew that includes sons Derek and Dylan, home for the summer from the University of Idaho and Washington State University.