Why not convert Harrison Bremerton into affordable housing?

Harrison Medical Center’s consolidation in Silverdale will leave a 450,000-square-foot hospital vacant in East Bremerton three years from now.

FeelingTheSqueezeHarrison parent company CHI Franciscan Health is still determining if the building can be repurposed or should be torn down.

Given the looming affordable housing crisis in Kitsap, reader Kim Edgar in Poulsbo wondered if Harrison Bremerton could be converted into dorm rooms for Olympic College students or some other form of low-cost housing.

“The rooms are large enough to be dorm rooms and they have their own bathrooms,” Edgar pointed out in an email.

674094_5539855_ver1.0_640_480-1“Throw in a small fridge and a microwave and you’ve got a dorm room. They could convert the nurses station in to a common room, laundry room and a common kitchen area.

“Or, maybe Kitsap Housing Authority could turn the hospital into an affordable apartment complex and possible temporary housing for the homeless.”

Edgar probably isn’t the only Kitsap resident eyeing the Harrison Bremerton building as a potential home for affordable rentals, so I asked Kurt Wiest with Bremerton Housing Authority if the idea sounded feasible.

“The simple answer,” Wiest said, “is it’s complicated.”

The Housing Authority has been interested in the site since Harrison announced its relocation plans. But Wiest said retrofitting the aging hospital into apartments would almost certainly be cost prohibitive.

Since portions of the building were built decades ago, Wiest said there are likely hazardous materials like lead or asbestos present that would make residential conversion a complex and expensive prospect.

Wiest believes there is potential to create housing at the Cherry Avenue campus if the hospital is demolished. Much will depend on what CHI Franciscan decides to do with the property.

Have an idea for creating affordable housing in Kitsap? Drop a comment below or write me at tad.sooter@kitsapsun.com.

8 thoughts on “Why not convert Harrison Bremerton into affordable housing?

    1. From what I’ve been told, the old QFC site on Kitsap Way is supposed to be converted to a VA clinic/hospital with beds for a thousand or so. Could be just more talk, but that’s how it goes in Kitsap.
      I honestly can’t believe it would cost more to six up the hospital than to tear it down a build something new. If the hospital is so dangeroud now, why are we still using it?

  1. Maybe Bremerton Housing can rent apartments at the old Harrison for those that really want the apartment they can put in so many hours of work etc. Like the housing agency does for those that want to own this home. It’s a waste to tear it down rebuild it. Then it wouldn’t be affordable, watch. I guess only private investors don’t have regulations that hinder them?

  2. My thoughts are that Kitsap County DCD should develop a few preapproved stock plans for tiny houses that are made available to anyone who desires them. They should also make a very easy information package available for places and reduced permit processes for these tiny homes.

    Seems to me if the county really wanted to solve the problem they have the ability to ease the process paving the way for tiny affordable homes to start springing up. What if some of the vacant land owed by the cities and counties were prepped and made pad ready for sale in tiny parcels for such a purpose?

    To me, if we are going to help the truly disadvantaged and the homeless it can be done with more effort on our local governments part. Not at a loss but at an actual break even.

    I envision if the land and infrastructure was available for minimal sized housing it would be a much easier venture for service clubs or organizations to sponsor a tiny home.

    Make it easy and let’s get it done.

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