Following recent approval from the Manzanita Planning Commission, Hans Tonjes and Jimmy Onstott are gearing up to build a mixed-use structure in the city's downtown core.

The building, to be located between the Spindrift Inn and Bill Geiger's complex - which houses HLB & Associates, Cloud and Leaf, and other businesses - will feature six retail/office spaces on the ground floor and four apartments on the second story. Each space, including the apartments, will be for sale.

"I love mixed use," said Tonjes, who, with his wife Olga, owns Overboard, the game store located further up Laneda Avenue. The two, and their young son, make their home in space above the store.

"We're big fans of 'live-over-work,'" said Tonjes. "But the new building isn't designed and won't be marketed that way. They're not connected units."

Still, by offering residential quarters above the commercial and office spaces, Tonjes and Onstott - an architect and Cannon Beach resident - hope to make it possible for local business owners to live in the same building in which they work.

"So far interest has been good, considering there's been no press about the project," said Tonjes.

The building will feature a courtyard, jade green mosaic tile, cedar shingles and cedar, copper and stainless steel rain covers.

"The opportunity to build something new and different that looks neat is fun," said Tonjes.

Storage units occupy the lot at the moment. Those will be removed and replaced with the mixed-use building and a 25-space parking lot for tenants and customers.

One condition of planning commission approval was that Tonjes and Onstott must resurface Merton Lane, the dead-end residential street bordering what will be the parking lot. They also intend to place a fence between the parking area and the road, as a visual buffer for neighbors.

Those who testified in favor of the project at the May 16 planning commission meeting included Charlie Lostrom, who owns Manzanita Real Estate Group. He said he asked several of those attending a recent Manzanita/Neahkahnie Town Meeting about the proposed development.

"I just wanted to see what the pulse-beat was. What I heard at that meeting was a resounding 'We need developments like this to serve the community.'"

Stewart Martin, who owns the Spindrift Inn and Bistro Manzanita, also spoke in support of the plan.

"I'm in favor of mixed-use with residential on top," he said. "It's an old trend enjoying renewed interest. Given all the alternatives this parcel could be used for, this is a favorable use."

Tonjes built and was the original owner of Coast Cabins, also located on Laneda Avenue.

"I love living in Manzanita, and my passion is building," he said.

"Combining really loving being here and loving to build stuff is a kind of synergy."

While acknowledging he would prefer Manzanita remain as it is and not continue to grow, Tonjes said that inevitably the city will grow.

"I would love to have an impact and kind of steer that growth in a positive direction rather than sit back and see what other people will do."

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