Windermere Key Realty is moving from its Key Center location into the New Brookside building on State Route 302. Windermere broker Steve Skibbs has purchased the former restaurant building and is in the process of converting it into realty offices. When asked why he chose to give up the Key Center location for Brookside, Skibbs answered he had been looking around the Peninsula for a long time. This property provides “more visibility,” he said and cited traffic count reports of 16,400 cars passing by the Brookside daily compared to 9,300 at Key Center.
Skibbs also appreciates the Brookside’s attractive setting. Inside the building he plans to keep the view open from the front entrance to the back windows looking out over the brook, which is a tributary to Minter Creek. The patio by the brook will have picnic tables for staff and client lunches.
There are no exterior structural changes planned and Skibbs hopes there will be little problem with county zoning permits. “Zoning use was higher (for a restaurant) than what I’m using it for,” he says. As a real estate office, the building will have less vehicle activity and less people in and out than the restaurant. He plans to continue to use the familiar reader board but the messages will be different. “We’re not selling hamburgers; but (we are selling) the places where you can cook hamburgers,” he says.
With about 18 agents, this office will be the smallest of Skibbs’ three Windermere companies. The Gig Harbor office has about 80 agents and the Port Orchard one about 50.
When asked how the Peninsula area fits into the real estate market compared to neighboring communities, he replied that the Key Peninsula is “more rural with land available.” There is a “quaintness and country feel about it. The new bridge will increase interest in living on the Pen; and there is more affordable housing,” he said. Skibbs also believes people will move to the Peninsula area for the similar reasons that caused his family to settle in Canterwood. “We moved here to get out of the fast pace,” he said. “It is a fair distance from Longbranch to Tacoma.”
The move to the new location will end Skibbs’ nine-year partnership with Joyce Tovey as co-owner of the Windermere realty business in Key Center. Tovey owns the building where the office is presently located, and that building is for sale. When Tovey, a 30-year veteran in the realty business, was asked about the impending move, her response was, “I think it is going to be a good location because it should generate more traffic from the Elgin-Clifton area. I am enthusiastically in favor of that move.”