Downtown PO: This Could Be the Start of Something Big

With the adoption of Port Orchard’s Downtown Overlay District Plan in September, it was only a matter of time before a viable project materialized that would radically alter the look and feel of the downtown area.

A proposed three-story development on Bay Street that could break ground as early as November has been called, by Mayor Larry Coppola and others, a potential catalyst for the revitalization of downtown Port Orchard. The 35,000-square-foot, mixed-use project at Frederick and Bay streets qualifies for federal New Markets Tax Credit funding to aid economically depressed areas.

The project would include an underground parking garage and three above-ground stories of retail and office space with a rooftop garden. The developers would petition the city to vacate Frederick Street, which would become a courtyard between the two buildings with fountains, trees and public seating. An aerial walkway connecting the buildings would include apartment space, according to preliminary schematic drawings by William M. Palmer Consultants of Port Orchard.

“This is huge,” said Coppola, referring apparently to the significance of the project not its size.

Inevitably, however, those who resisted the height standards agreed upon in the plan will seize on the latter meaning of “huge.”

The plan, adopted September 24, limits/allows building height on the south side of Bay Street to 55 feet with a conditional use permit. On the north (water) side, the maximum height is 39 feet with a conditional use permit. The proposed project, on the water side, would be 39 feet tall.

“What you’re looking at is the very first project that’s going to start the downtown development of Port Orchard,” said David Walden with Prudential Northwest Real Estate of Gig Harbor, who has an interest in the development. “Being the first, it’s going to be scrutinized by everybody. We intend to make it first rate.”

The project involves two buildings, one at 639 Bay – the Corner Deli/Old Jordan’s building – which shows the owner of record as Douglas Zimmermann of Seattle. Mansour Samadpour, the Seattle microbiologist who owns five other buildings in Port Orchard, owns the other at 701 Bay.

Samadpour is pleased to begin taking action on the property he acquired for its development potential, but he said the 39-foot limit put constraints his investment return. There will be no condos in the project, he said.

City officials, developers and property owners are working with the Kitsap Consolidated Housing Authority, the agency that administers the tax credits locally, to draw more funding for downtown development.

Stay tuned.

3 thoughts on “Downtown PO: This Could Be the Start of Something Big

  1. It’s nice to see that federal “New Markets Tax Credit” program used for something over on this side of the inlet. I wonder why Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority didn’t go knocking on Port Orchard’s door immediately after the allocation of credits was made to KCCHA by the Feds. Don’t we elect enough Democrats over here to suit them? Or, is it just that they think of Bremerton and only Bremerton when the issue of government subsidy/funding for economic development arises?

  2. Bob,

    I agree with you that this Port Orchard development is a good and appropriate use of those funds. Unlike the ferry fiasco, it will be private money, not public money that will be at risk.

    However, don’t think that King Richard was satisfied with that $ 6million he got for the ferry study. See

    http://www.kitsapregionalcouncil.org/lib

    and you can see that at the next next KRCC meeting he will request that $1.1 million targeted for the park and ride at Newberry Hill be redirected to the ferry study! Company doing the study is most certainly laughing all the way to the bank…. This April 8th meeting will be telecast on BKAT at 8pm that date.

    http://www.kitsapregionalcouncil.org/lib

    See item 6b

  3. Another 1.1 mil for a study they already have allocated 6 mil for?!?!?!?

    Heck, they could have bought the Snohomish or Chinook from Washington State and had it running from Harper/Southworth to downtown Seattle for less than 6 mil.

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