Category Archives: Development

Another arcade is coming to downtown Bremerton


Developments in Bremerton seem to come in twos these days. Both Ace and Henery Hardware opened on opposite sides of town within a month of each other in 2014; two fledgling breweries — Wobbly Hops and LoveCraft — both decided to wade into the downtown market at nearly the same time. And, where there was one arcade that opened downtown in the spring, there will now be two.

Another Castle Arcade Edition is coming to 305 Pacific Avenue, former home of Alchemy Tattoo & Gallery.

The Edmonds-based adult “barcade,” which started as a video store in 2006, expanded to serve drinks to its gaming customers. They’ll soon open similar barcades in Bellingham and Bremerton, according to Jason Alloway Greye, the company’s district manager.  The expansion speaks to the state of the industry, he said.

“Demand is growing exponentially,” he said.

Greye, who happens to be from Bremerton, pitched the idea to the company to give downtown Bremerton a try. He sees a city that needs more for younger people — those over 21 — to do. Plus, he figured there’s plenty of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard workers nearby that would want to give the place a try as well.

Like Quarters Arcade around the corner, there will be a mix of old and new games. You’ll be able to play about a dozen pinball machines and around 30 arcade games.

“We focus on classic and retro but not exclusively,” Greye said.

Bremerton’s will be the only location with a full bar, he added.

They plan to open in November.

VIDEO: Opening night footage from The Roxy Theater

“Certainly marvelous,” “very fine,” and “awful nice,” are how some of the first moviegoers at Bremerton’s Roxy Theater described it to a film crew on opening night. Some of you may recall this five minute video (above) from my July tour of the Roxy. Now, at long last, it’s available for posterity on YouTube.


It was a precarious journey. At some point, the original film — whose creators are unknown — was transferred to VHS and then to DVD. A huge thanks is due to the Kitsap County Historical Society and Museum, who kept it for many years. Crystal Yingling, who is spearheading an effort to save the Roxy and restore it to its former glory, got a copy. And at last, we’re able to present it to you now.

BLOGGER’S UPDATE, 5.19.16: The Roxy was purchased by Sound West Group in late 2015 and they have begun a full restoration.

The Roxy’s future is still far from certain but I do have a few developments to tell you. First, Yingling is teaming up with the nonprofit Downtown Bremerton Association in an effort to proceed with further fundraising. The 660-seat theater is owned by an Oregon investment firm.

It will likely take north of $1 million to fully restore the theater, which has been on sale for $399,000.

There’s also some ideas floating around about that particular tree-lined stretch of Fourth Street. Rice Fergus Miller Architects have been hosted a design charrette this week aimed at redeveloping the street into a retail-residential corridor, with as many as 70 residences atop businesses.

In the meantime, please enjoy the film, from the May 31, 1941 opening of the theater. Playing first was “The Devil and Miss Jones,” featuring Jean Arthur. And, as you may have already seen, you can wax nostalgic right next door to the shuttered Fourth Street Theater at the new Wobbly Hops Brewery, which opened earlier this month.

If you have any idea who might have produced this video, we’d like to give them credit. Please drop me a line at

Roxy today, Roxy yesterday. Photo by Meegan M. Reid.
Roxy today, Roxy yesterday. Photo by Meegan M. Reid.

A bakery in the Quonset hut?

Artists have frequently found inspiration inside Bremerton’s Quonset hut, an iconic city dwelling near Evergreen-Rotary Park.

Perhaps a baker will soon, too.

An accomplished pastry chef is rumored to be eyeing the location, at 301 13th Street, according to the Eater Seattle blog. His name is Matt Tinder, and his resume includes stints at Michelin-starred locations including The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, California, and Coi in San Francisco.

Tinder has a sister in Seattle, the blog says, and has been looking for a bakery location. Enter Bremerton. From the piece:

“They ended up finding a space on 13th Street in Bremerton, near the waterfront and across the street from Evergreen Rotary Park. The “space” is actually a Quonset hut that Tinder and (his fiance Kate) Giuggio will transform into their bakery, complete with retail space too. They’ll start working on the space October 1, with the aim of opening in February. Ideally they’ll have a “San Francisco-inspired parklet” in front, as well as picnic space in the back.

Tinder will mill his own grains on site, and he plans to use entirely Washington ingredients. Expect breads, morning pastries like croissants and brioches, and “hard-to-find, naturally-leavened breads.” Much of the ingredients and offerings list is still evolving, and Tinder will begin building partnerships once his feet hit the ground in Bremerton.”

So, exciting! Here’s what I’ve been able to find out so far:


I caught up with Quonset hut owner Andrew Johnston, who I interviewed a few months ago for my story on the Quonset hut. Johnston said Tinder is a friend and that he’d love a bakery in the space. But he stopped short of making any confirmation that Tinder is a tenant, let alone that a bakery would be opening in February there, as the blog reports.

I checked with the city’s Community Development Office, but alas, no permits as yet.

And, of course, I knocked on the door of the hut. No luck yet.

I did find Tinder on Twitter. I followed him, and he followed me back. Here’s hoping I hear from him soon. As soon as I hear more, I will let you know.

In the works: Mosque planned at old Kitsap Bank building


Muslims in Bremerton and Kitsap County have long commuted to places of worship in Tacoma and other Puget Sound communities. But a permanent home locally is now at hand, with the Islamic Center of Kitsap County‘s purchase of the old Kitsap Bank building on Marine Drive.

The building, which had been on the market for $269,000, sold in mid-August.

The Islamic Center made a video in July asking for donations to its GoFundMe account, which you can watch here. The center has raised more than $14,000 for the mosque. Its families have been working to convert the old bank into a masjid, or place of worship.

“We the muslims of Kitsap County have been living in Bremerton, WA for 20 years,” the GoFundMe page explains. “There are about 10 muslim families living here currently and the community is growing. With no masjid in the community, we currently commute about 60 miles or more to the closest masjid for Friday prayers and Ramadan.”

You may recall that for a time, the center met at Unity Church in Manette, according to a Kitsap Sun story by Rachel Pritchett from 2008.

I plan on following developments and writing a feature for the Kitsap Sun when the building improvements are completed and the mosque opens.

The odd asphalt sidewalks on Washington Avenue


I was startled on my commute this morning to find asphalt — yes asphalt — where concrete sidewalks should be on the $3.5 million Washington Avenue project. 

As you can see from the photo above, it basically looks like there’s another street where sidewalks should be. So what gives?

City officials said in an email earlier this week that yes, asphalt will have to do on the eastern Washington Avenue sidewalk, between Sixth and Fifth streets. The reason is that there’s a proposed development, once called the “Towers Project,” that the city believes will simply rip the street open again when construction on it begins.

The reason for their confidence: the development, begun by Absher Construction, paid upwards of $200,000 for the city to bury power lines on Washington between Sixth and Fifth streets. That suggests the project is not just one for the community development department shelves but that they’re serious about getting going.

Still, it looks odd, don’t you think?

Other project updates: On Monday, work will shift to the western side of Washington Avenue. That means that northbound traffic on Washington will take up the new lane on the east side, with the western side closed down. There won’t be any southbound traffic allowed on Washington, and the intersections at Fifth and Sixth streets will be closed. Contractor RV Associates estimates it will take seven to eight weeks to complete the western work.

The Towers project rendering.
The Towers project rendering.

When completed in mid-October — that’s the hope anyway — the project will have taken the road from four lanes to two, added wider sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping and decorative lighting.

The project also includes the linking of the 9/11 Memorial park with the wider Evergreen-Rotary Park. In mid-September, crews will demolish the old end of Highland Avenue and a sewer pump house there. They’ll plant grass, put in new pathways and create a new viewing platform of the Port Washington Narrows. Personally, I am really looking forward to seeing the new park, the design of which you can see below.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 11.22.11 AM





Recreational marijuana comes to the east side

The selection of bongs and pipes at the newest pot store in Bremerton.
The selection of bongs and pipes at the newest pot store in Bremerton.

For most people, smoking pot would not qualify as a homework assignment. But for staff at Destination Highway 420, Bremerton’s newest recreational marijuana shop, it’s a possible part of a burgeoning quality control program that calls for rating and reviewing different weed strands and types.

“We want to make sure we have the best quality product around,” said Michelle Beardsley, the store’s operations director and a welder at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

Bremerton’s newest marijuana store, the first on the city’s east side, just got up and running this week — pot in all forms is coming in from growers all over the state — and has a grand opening slated for Saturday. It has been opened by two of the four people who started the county’s first pot store outside South Kitsap, Highway 420, on Charleston Beach Road. In fact, Beardsley and co-owner Brian Rose call it a “sister store.”

But both say it will be different. Located on Hollis Street, across from the Cloverleaf Sports Bar & Grill, the 4,000 square-foot space was once a warehouse. It was last a thrift store before Beardsley and Rose bought the property.

“It had a lot of junk in it, but the building’s in great shape,” Beardsley said.

They painted it the building, rebuilt the inside to give it an “industrial” look, stained the floors, and more. And while the Bremerton area is now home to three recreational pot stores, Rose is confident they’ve found a niche on the East side.

“We’re the closest store in the county until you get to Bainbridge Island,” said Rose, who worked for the school district and various jobs before landing what he called his dream. “We’re really excited to be able to service the north end.”

Their plans do not end at a pot shop, however. By the holidays, they plan to open an “annex” on the site that will sell store merchandise. And come springtime, they hope to open a glass blowing studio that will attract not just those looking to make their own pipes and bongs, but any kind of glassware.

The store is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursdays; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.


Meet the man in charge of the game-changing $665 million telescope

Bob Abel (left) and Steve Kahn at the Kitsap Conference Center Thursday.
Bob Abel (left) and Steve Kahn at the Kitsap Conference Center Thursday.

Steve Kahn often gets one question about the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, due to start mapping the Heavens in 2022.

“Haven’t we already done that?” people say.

The truth is that such stellar cartography has never been done on this scale before. It’s truly a game-changer, Kahn says.

“The answer to that question is that the sky’s a really big place,” he quips.

And it needs a really big telescope to map it. For example: The mirror on the Hubble Space Telescope is 2.1 meters across. By contrast, the LSST’s will be 8.4 meters.

The teams working on the largest federal project in astronomy today — $665 million to construct a mammoth telescope, build the biggest ever camera for it and capture unprecedented amounts of data — have been right here in Bremerton all week, advancing their cause.

Kahn, who is the director of LSST and a Stanford University professor, is no stranger to big projects, having worked on massive x-ray telescopes and particle accelerators at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC).

But LSST is different in at least one regard: the scientists building all of its parts are scattered throughout the country.

“Most big projects are built by one team and are in one place,” he said.

And despite a world with so much connectivity via the Internet and video conferencing, there’s just no substitute for face to face interaction. Kahn wants to ensure that the telescope builders, camera constructors, data keepers and other scientists don’t bifurcate into fiefdoms but that they’re all working toward the same unified goal.

“We want LSST to not only be a great telescope and great for science, but also to be a great team,” he said.

That’s where Bremerton comes in, the city Olympic College Professor Bob Abel — also a part of LSST — was able to convince his colleagues to come to for an “all hands on deck” weeklong meeting.

This week has been productive in solving a particularly thorny issue facing LSST: how best to map the cosmos. Kahn refers to the “traveling salesman” problem: what’s the route to take to make the most sales and drive the least amount of miles possible?

For LSST, that means finding the most interesting things to study through LSST’s lens in the 10 years they have to do so. Even mathematicians have joined the project to help them attain those efficiencies, using what’s known as “operations research.”

Kahn says the LSST will focus on four main areas: near Earth objects, to see what asteroids might imperil Earth; the science of the Milky Way, to include a first ever 3-D map of it; examining a changing sky, which includes supernovae and the like; and potentially solve some fundamental mysteries, such as learning more about dark energy.

But for the week in Bremerton, Kahn also wanted to build camaraderie. Abel took the charge of bringing the scientists in to the community: playing soccer each morning at Kiwanis Park and hosting talks all week long at SEEFilm Cinemas and around town.

Kahn has been amazed at the some 1,000 people who’ve come out to hear from some of astronomy’s brightest minds. They’re not just asking “surface questions” and show an understanding and curiosity that’s impressed the director. He wonders if even his hometown of Palo Alto would draw that kind of response.

“The thing that’s blown us away is the response from the community,” he said. “In a town this size, that’s phenomenal.”

Are you up for a walk through the cove?

The new park in Anderson Cove is almost done.
The new park in Anderson Cove is almost done.

Good things are happening in Anderson Cove. A new park on the waterfront is slated to open in about a month. Plus, a few new businesses, including an Irish pub and a brewery, have come to 15th Street.

Who wants to go check it out?

At 2 p.m. on Saturday, I will lead my latest Story Walk through the cove, starting at Hi-Lo Cafe at 15th Street and Wycoff Avenue. We’ll hear from the owners about how they’ve created one of the best breakfast and lunch spots in all of Kitsap County.

Then, we’ll set off for an approximately 1/2 mile walk to Bremerton’s newest park, named for Bremerton civil rights pioneers James and Lillian Walker. The park, with an ampitheater-like setting overlooking the Port Washington Narrows, will likely open in September. We’ll get a sneak peak with help from Bremerton Parks Preservation and Development Manager Colette Berna. The architect of many of Bremerton’s redeveloped parks will take us through how the less than 1-acre parcel came together, and how it demonstrates the state’s newest methods to keep stormwater out of Puget Sound.

We’ll return to 15th and Wycoff to conclude the walk (you can also take a bus back for $2) and a stop at Bremerton’s newest restaurant, Bualadh Bos, for some food and good company. I am also hopeful we can speak with the proprietors of soon-to-be opened Hale’s Ales brewery and taproom, on the corner of 15th and Wycoff as well.

I hope you’ll join us for a walk through this changing Bremerton neighborhood Saturday! Please RSVP here, and here’s links to our previous walks.

Photo by Greg Salo.
Photo by Greg Salo.

Storywalking history, the Roxy, and all things hoppy

Walking the new Westpark

The new Lower Wheaton Way

Washington Avenue, past and present

The meandering Madrona Forest

Redwood Rendezvous in West Bremerton

Fourth Street’s Economic Divide

Nite Shift no more: Development looms at old Bremerton bar site

The Nite Shift is no longer for sale. It will be demolished in mere days.

Dale Sperling was one of more than a dozen people who gave an earful to the Bremerton City Council last Wednesday night. The 41-year Kitsap resident and longtime developer praised what he called “one of the best physical settings in Puget Sound,” with a “high value” workforce and a ferry to Seattle.

“So why is downtown Bremerton not taking off?” he asked the Council.

His answer was blight. And, aside from making arguments to the Council that night to use federal housing dollars to combat Bremerton’s “empty building problem,” Sperling has recently purchased what he referred to as the “epitome of blight.”

Sperling’s now the owner of the old Nite Shift tavern, which hasn’t been open for years. During an inspection inside a colleague of his actually fell partially through the floor — hence his reference to the epitome of blight.

The building, home to both the Nite Shift and Scotty’s taverns in decades gone by, had been bought by the owners of the Horse & Cow a few years ago. But Mike Looby and Larry Timby have found success on the recently brick-lined section of Fourth Street. In came Sperling, seeking an opportunity in downtown Bremerton. The 1946-built tavern sold for $250,000, according to the Kitsap County Assessor’s Office.

Sperling, once the president and CEO of Unico Properties, owner of around 15 million square feet of commercial real estate in the western United States, says he’s “bullish” on Bremerton and Kitsap County. More recently, he founded a company known as OneBuild, which manufactures prefabricated modular units — “everything but the toilet paper,” he told me — and then stacks them like legos into contemporary apartments.

The bulldozers should get going at the site, 242 Burwell Street, within days.

What will happen after demolition is still up in the air. Sperling, who is working through the permitting process and has presented plans to construct 30 units there, says there’s no timetable for construction. He does not want to put the cart before the horse, he told me.

If he goes forward with his plans, his project will join the list of downtown apartment projects including The 606, a 71-unit venture being constructed by Lorax Partners down the street, as well as The Spyglass Hill apartments, an 80-unit apartment complex overlooking the Manette Bridge. Other projects have been planned near Evergreen Park and on Washington Avenue as well. All told, Bremerton could have hundreds more apartments in its downtown core in just a few years.

Sperling is confident Bremerton will soon thrive. And he’d like to be a part of that. He shakes his head when he sees surface parking lots in downtown Bremerton.

“To think, the highest and best use is surface parking,” he told the Council. “It’s a complete non-sequitur.”



Another Bremerton beach house bites the dust


That little blue house perched under the Manette Bridge is soon to be demolished. 

The Bremerton City Council recently approved purchasing the home for $132,000, plus closing costs, and for the residence to be torn down.

It’s one of the few waterfront homes left. There was a day when the Bremerton waterfront was filled with such beach houses. They’ve been slowly disappearing over time. One particular day in 1990, eight of them were condemned by the city after one collapsed.

The reason you also don’t see many today is because state environmental regulations forbid building over Puget Sound. Only one now remains habitable on the Bremerton waterfront, which I wrote about last year.

The reason for the demolition this time around has to do with the city’s sewer system.

As part of the Washington Avenue project, an aging and problematic sewer line along the beach — between the boardwalk and Manette Bridge — will be closed down. Instead, sewer systems in houses along Washington Avenue now have “grinder” pumps, which pull sewage up into lines being constructed on Washington, rather than falling to the beach line below.

To install a grinder pump to the little home at 646 Washington would’ve cost around $40,000, Bremerton Public Works Director Chal Martin told the City Council. And in buying the house, the city will have a small slice of waterfront that could one day be developed.

“It could be beach access in the future,” Martin said.

The other reason the city bought it: officials said the house would give them something called “mitigation credits.” That’s a fancy way of saying that in the future, if there are objections to a city project for environmental reasons, the city could proceed with the project anyway because it mitigated environmental problems elsewhere.

Only Councilman Roy Runyon objected to the purchase, while the other six on the Council approved it. Runyon said he did not believe it was worth the city’s money.

UPDATE: Martin told me Friday that the home couldn’t be moved because it just wasn’t “economically viable.” Also, the city has condemned the yellow house that remains on the beach but there’s no timetable yet for demolition. The other beach house — soon the lone one left — will remain.