Northern Heights renovation is complete

The Northern Heights Apartments, across from the library, are renovated and ready!

Almost a year ago, OPAL Community Land Trust purchased the building with twelve one-bedroom apartments.

“It was a top-to-bottom renovation – nearly everything is new,” said Jocelyn Cecil, OPAL’s Assistant Project Manager.

Among the items Cecil noted: Each of the 12 apartments has an efficient new heat pump (heating and air conditioning); all units have a new refrigerator, kitchen stove and cabinets; new window blinds; all interiors have been freshly painted; and the exterior of the building will be painted soon. “I am deeply grateful for financial assistance from San Juan County as well as private donors who gave contributions to OPAL so this work could be completed in a very timely manner,” said OPAL executive director Lisa Byers.

The purchase and renovations were made possible thanks to grants from San Juan County, the Orcas Island Community Foundation and donations from hundreds of islanders. The apartments bring OPAL’s total number of rental homes to 94.

There are three apartments that are available to be rented. Prospective applicants may call the April’s Grove office at (360) 622-2011, Cecil stated. The property will be managed by Ad-West Realty, the same firm that manages April’s Grove and Lavender Hollow on behalf of OPAL.

Rentals make sense. Many people who work essential jobs don’t earn a sufficient amount to afford to buy a home in today’s market. If they attempt to do so without proper means, it can bring them more harm than good. Irregular income streams, such as seasonal employment, can endanger mortgages and credit scores.

People across the income spectrum choose to rent for good reasons. For example, the inability or lack of desire to maintain a property, the necessity of frequent moves, the freedom to downsize, or because they cannot afford a down payment for a home that meets their needs.

The Northern Heights location provides exceptional access to places in town. The library, grocery and other services are all within blocks of the apartments. A little further out delivers the medical clinic, Orcas Center and recreation opportunities. These include the tennis/pickle ball courts; the skateboard park; and the dog park. There are nearby trails for walking and biking. Also convenient, there is a coin laundry on site.

For updates on current OPAL activities, and information on how to purchase or rent a home, go to