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Originally published Friday, July 16, 2010 at 10:00 PM

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Neighborhood of the week

Lynwood Center on Bainbridge Island

When Frank D'Amore was searching for a Bainbridge Island location for his family-run bread business, he rejected the island's bustling commercial...

Special to The Seattle Times

Lynwood Center (Bainbridge Island)

Population of Bainbridge Island: 23,290 (2009 estimate)

Distance to downtown Seattle: About 14 miles, including an 8-mile, 30-minute ferry ride. You can also drive around, through Tacoma.

Schools: Lynwood Center is served by the Bainbridge Island School District.

Historic venue: The Lynwood Theatre, 4569 Lynwood Center Road N.E., opened in 1936 as Bainbridge Island's first "talkie" movie theater. It now features specialty films. www.lynwoodtheatre.com

— Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf

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When Frank D'Amore was searching for a Bainbridge Island location for his family-run bread business, he rejected the island's bustling commercial hub in favor of Lynwood Center, a more intimate business district five miles away.

"Business district" might seem like a stretch to describe the handful of shops occupying several Tudor-style buildings on the shores of Puget Sound, a five-minute drive or 20-minute bike ride from downtown Bainbridge. "An island's own island getaway" might be more accurate.

"It's a pretty popular destination for tourists coming over to sort of bike for a while and come in and have a bite to eat and continue on their way," said Cinnamon Harrington, who lives in the area and works at the popular Treehouse Cafe.

"Although the main shopping area, Winslow, is only about five miles away, it's really great to have someplace within walking distance."

Small-town feel

The area's old-fashioned, small-town feel is cherished by residents, who relish walking their dogs or riding bikes near the winding roads surrounded by forest.

One can see pleasant, cottage-style residences and bigger houses along streets with such names as Pleasant Beach Drive, Wild Rose Lane and Diamond Place.

At nearby Fort Ward State Park, a 137-acre marine park, woodsy trails slope down to waterfront jogging paths bordered by crusty cannon mounts.

Bainbridge Island as a whole is coveted for its school system, which has been consistently ranked with the top districts in the state, which becomes a major selling point for homes, said Maureen Buckley of Buckley and Buckley Real Estate on Bainbridge Island.

According to figures compiled by Buckley and Buckley, there were seven home sales in the Lynwood Center area between Jan. 1 and June 1, with prices ranging from $385,000 to $1 million.

As they have in many parts of the region and nation, property values have fallen significantly in the area, Buckley noted.

The median price of a single-family house on Bainbridge Island was $457,500 in May, down 13.7 percent from $530,000 a year earlier, according to figures compiled by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

"Bainbridge has become more affordable, which has not happened in a long time," she said. "You've got million-dollar, multimillion-dollar houses on the waterfront and you've got little cottages for $350,000. You don't have an area where everything's a million or everything's 350."

According to Seattle-based Zillow.com, the median value of all single-family houses on Bainbridge Island, not just single-family houses recently sold, was $516,100 in May, down 8.4 percent year-over-year.

Meanwhile, the median value of all condos on Bainbridge Island was $293,500 in May, down 16.3 percent year-over-year, the Zillow Home Value Index shows.

Memories and change

D'Amore, who oversees Pane d'Amore's other locations in Port Townsend and Sequim, has been coming to Lynwood Center since the 1960s.

As teenagers, he and his friends hung around outside Walt's Lynwood Center Market on Saturday nights, eating Creamsicles and chugging root beer.

His tastes have evolved, along with the neighborhood's.

Pane d'Amore, which opened for business in Lynwood Center June 1, is known for its specialty breads, but D'Amore is also hoping to stock local vegetables, fruits, wines, dairy products and seafood.

The new store stands where Walt's used to be.

The grocery, which still exists, has moved to the bottom floor of an apartment building across the street.

Lynwood Center also is notable for its shops and the historic Lynwood Theatre, which dates to 1936. It hosts the annual Celluloid Film Festival, a showcase for Bainbridge Island films and filmmakers.

The most striking change since D'Amore began coming to Lynwood Center is the half-finished housing project across the street from the shops.

It was to have housed retail on the bottom floor with residential units above, but the project was abandoned when the economy soured and no one knows exactly what will happen to it, Harrington said.

Buckley is certain the building, whose architecture mimics the Tudor style, will eventually be finished.

"It's really well done," she said. "It will be a small version of Winslow."

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