A new care facility could rise from Serenity House’s rubble

Steve Romein, who recently bought the Serenity House property in Lynwood Center, told me this afternoon that he plans to build a new facility to care for the elderly and developmentally disabled.

“That’s the whole reason we bought it,” said Romein, an architect who also co-owns the Tudor-style Lynwood Theatre building across the street. “We want to get a care facility back. We were very saddened to see it displaced.”

For more on what led to the Serenity House’s demise, read this feature on its final weeks and this followup story on its closure. Here’s the post on its demolition this week.

Romein envisions a new four-unit complex on the 3.4-acre property. Each group home might have up to six residents. He may also add a daytime care facility for elderly people.

Romein is in talks now with potential care facility operators, and hopes to have one selected within the next month. The operator, he said, will help develop plans for the new complex.

Listed at $1.95 million by former owner Kitsap Consolidated Housing Authority, the property was purchased by Romein for about $1.5 million last month.

With the large Blossom Hill commercial and residential development taking shape to the north of his property, Romein is doubtful the Lynwood Center area could support any additional new construction for shops or homes.

“It’s a hard enough market for the new construction,” he said.

The Serenity House’s long history in Lynwood Center proves there’s a need and a desire for a care facility in the south island community.

“It’s healthy to have that diversity,” he said. “And other communities might not want it. But our community had it and wants it back.”

Romein’s plans for the Lynwood Theatre building are now taking shape. He purchased the 1930s-era building two years ago with plans to tackle a long list of overdue fixes and renovations, including sagging ceilings, crumbling walls, and asbestos-laden floors. Romein is rebuilding a middle section of the complex to include a second story with new residential units.

The purchase, Romein admitted to me in 2007, was a bit impulsive.

“I’d say it just came down to emotion,” he said then. “The Lynwood’s an icon on the island. If I threw up a new condo, that wouldn’t create much enthusiasm. But this is going to be exciting.”