The Bay Street Report: works in progress

Old buildings, they’re like that box of chocolates in “Forrest Gump” — you never know what you’re going to get.

The old Slip 45 building, now being transformed into a public market, has hatched more than its share of surprises. The discovery of asbestos caused a delay last year. A new hitch has impeded progress on the market — billed as a Pike Place-style venue — but the project is still on track, says local businessman Don Ryan, who leases the building from Seattle-area property owner Mansour Samadpour.

Samadpour in 2012 agreed to invest in renovation of the building at 715 Bay Street. Ryan had hoped to open the market last summer, but he and Samadpour, whose investment has crept from $300,000 to nearly $600,000, used the delay to improve the design. Ryan now is shooting for this summer … sometime.

The latest hitch, which has slowed work to a crawl, was the discovery of two walls back to back where the facade of the building is to be built. The property, although listed by the assessor as a single structure, is made up of at least two, possibly three buildings, Ryan said. The assessor’s office says it dates to 1935.

The wall configuration means the façade must be re-engineered or redesigned to meet city standards for structural integrity. Once the city of Port Orchard, construction can resume at full speed ahead, possibly by next week, Ryan said. Vendors will then build their own kiosk-style spaces inside the market, which will offer fresh produce and flowers, cheese, seafood, beer, meat and more.

Ryan remains intentionally vague about pinpointing an opening date, because you never know ….

Down on the 600 block, another project under wraps is chugging along, according to the couple who plan an “Old World-style” pub on the corner of Bay and Harrison Street (the former Jordan’s Western Wear store).

Stacy Bronson and Dave Tagert, formerly of South Kitsap, opened the Devilfish Public House in Chehalis in 2007 and, emboldened by their success, are planning a second incarnation in Port Orchard.

“We’re not a bar or a saloon or a tavern,” Tagert said.
The Devilfish will be a quiet little gathering place that caters to an older crowd (35+), a place where you can engage in conversation without competition from the big screen or a loud band. The occasional acoustic group might be part of the mix. Microbrews from around the country and hearty pub fare (nothing fried) will be on the menu.

Tagert and Bronson are remodeling the interior themselves, and it will take as long as it takes, they say. Like Ryan, they are hoping to open this summer … sometime. Meantime, brown paper on the windows hides what’s going on inside the former deli.

Both veterans, Bronson and Tagert are looking to hire cooks and bartenders, with preference given to military spouses. The name Devilfish (for octopus) harkens to Tagart’s days as a commercial diver.

The building long owned by the Cohen family is now in the hands of Doug Zimmermann of Seattle.

The DeKalb Pier refurbishment, another Bay Street work in progress, should be complete by early July, said City Engineer Mark Dorsey. The city will replace the viewing platform and some of the crossbeams underneath, and make the platform handicapped accessible.

One thought on “The Bay Street Report: works in progress

  1. Hopefully both of the business’s will open soon to benefit from the summer weather. I look forward to the market opening and I am always looking for a good place for a brew and good food. Add on the bakery and it is even more reason for a downtown visit. The city and the Port of Bremerton have done a great job at the other end of town at the park.

    Now Port Orchard needs to attract more business’s to the multitude of empty storefronts. Anyone who owns the property and wants to refurbish and update needs to take note of the building issues. I bet most of the buildings have similar problems. Maybe it is time for a major tear down and rebuild of some of downtown Port Orchard. Call it an investment for the future.

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