Private Investment

Mayor Cary Bozeman said the new Kitsap Credit Union building is significant because it was the first major private investment into a downtown getting a facelift. I believe there was at least one, if not more, other private deal that cleaned things up, but there was nothing on this scale.

Again, as was stated in the blog entry about Bryman, it brings more people downtown.

Others have said downtown, or the “Harborside District” if you prefer, needs a grocery store. What else do you think would help make downtown’s transformation complete?

35 thoughts on “Private Investment

  1. Assuming that the demographic of the condo owner is an empty nester/single person who is a professional, this list of services is a start:

    Deli/higher-end convenience store (walk around Belltown in Seattle for an example)

    Dry cleaning

    Wine store with storage

    Half a dozen varied full-service (not fast food) restaurants – if you assume Manette is close enough, you have it about right. I have not been to Augustino’s yet so don’t know how their offerings fit in.

    Additions welcome – this is a broad brush approach

  2. 1) Grocery Store
    2) Movie Theatre
    3) A Moratorium on Art Galleries
    4) Tear down those hovels on Burwell, next to the old Les Schwab building.
    5) Retailers willing to invest real money in their business, local or national.

  3. I have mentioned before that downtown is in dire need of a grocery store,however a ‘high end’ store I am not so sure about.

    Granted they would LIKE to cater to the ‘higher class’ of people that downtown WANTS to attract,but lets face it,just outside of ‘downtown’ there are still alot of low income housing.

    Not to mention there are alot of ‘undesirables’ in this area (have you ever been to the 7-11 on Park past 9 pm?)

    My point is that these people are still Bremerton Citizens and they also will provide revenue for these ‘upper class’ joints if you will.

    Personally I think a store would do rather well in the old US bank lot across from the post office on Pacific.

    Just my 2 cents.

  4. Don: I’m not quite sure why your list seems to be targeted at the condo owners only. The whole point of the downtown reclamation project is to keep Bremerton dollars in Bremerton, instead of having them go up to Silverdale. High end is a mistake, as Bremerton is not high end (and I hope and pray it never will be). It’s a blue collar town with blue collar needs, even if it does have some white collar trim.

  5. Downtown Bremerton should have retail stores that are NOT in Silverdale, to attract folks from all over Kitsap.
    Here is my list:
    -Trader Joes
    -Bed Bath and Beyond
    -Old Navy (no pun intended)or a Gap
    -Border’s Books and Music
    -Rite Aid or Bartell’s
    -A multi-plex. Though, it would be nice to see the Roxy a movie theatre again.

  6. Trader Joes – yes
    Old Navy – Already at the mall.
    Bed, Bath & Beyond – I don’t know, does that really seem like a Bremerton retailer to you?
    Bartells – Yes
    Rite Aid – No (already one up on Kitsap Way)
    Multiplex – Yes, yes, yes

    However, if TJs won’t come in (as they purportedly won’t, because “Bremerton doesn’t fit their demographic”), why not PCC or something along those lines? A little pricier, but still very good. Or, heck, even a Central Market. Expensive, yes, but you can shop on a budget if you do it right (even though I rarely do).

    Grocery store first, all others will follow. Give the people a reason to come downtown.

  7. Think unique for Bremerton. Think local.

    A arts and crafts business.
    A pet walking business.
    A cycle rental business for folks to tour our cycle friendly town.
    A mom and pop grocery featuring fresh, local produce… pesticide free, organically grown.
    Local baked goods.
    A locally made ice cream store (Port Townsend has several good ones)
    A antique store.
    A destination book store, such as Barnes & Noble in Silverdale… plenty of good books, bottomless coffee and tea pots.
    A courier service.
    Focus on local talent… people that live here, care about our citizens and will go the extra mile a chain store may not.

  8. Grocery Store
    Comedy Club
    German Deli/Store (ever been to Hess’s in Lakewood?)
    Please, NO more galleries!!
    Aquarium would be nice as well

  9. Aquarium is a good idea and it could retail unusual fish tanks… tanks other stores don’t carry.
    A Comedy Club? Don’t we already have one?
    A Dollar store…
    A unique clothing store.
    An interesting drug store.
    Another antique store.
    A fitness center staffed by licensed professionals, including a dietitian.
    The equipment must be state of the art… to include a Quadmill.

  10. Okey the three most important things any downtown needs that wants to have people live and work in it core is:

    1. A grocery store
    2. A drug store
    3. A dry cleaner/laundry
    4. A electronics store
    They must be near were the majority of the people live and work. Fight over the brand name after you determine that this is truly what is needed.

    These four businesses provide the basic necessities for people to get by day to day. Once these are in place you can then work on getting the following:

    1. A clothing retailer with a shoe department.
    2. A movie theater (multiplex)
    3. A book store

  11. An electronics store? I don’t get that at all. What about that is a necessity?

    People need a reason to come downtown. Things like movie theatres, aquariums, museums, etc. will do that. Stores that pull in repeat visitors like grocers and even clothiers will keep them there. I’m as wired as the next guy, and an electronics store very far down my list of ‘essential’ retailers.

  12. Phil – I used the Belltown area of Seattle as a model; your point is well-taken, a different mix wouldn’t be a negative. Judging by the other comments, niche locations are preferred.
    Steve – great thread!!

  13. Don: I don’t think Belltown is necessarily a bad comparison, but I prefer to think of Bremerton as being where Fremont was 15-20 years ago. It’s basically got the same mix of drug addicts, recovering alcoholics, families and young singles that Fremont did when I was a kid. I look at how Fremont changed itself back in the day, and see Bremerton succeeding in much the same fashion. And if we really want to emulate Fremont, then consarn it we need a PCC.

  14. Phil: Appreciate the viewpoint. I work in Ballard, on the edge of Fremont, so only know it in the last 7 years and don’t have your historical perspective. I will back your assertion that becoming something akin to Fremont would be neat (other than that statue of Lenin). PCC – thumbs up!

  15. Phil, did you read my comment at all. I was trying to lay out the basics. The mayor said in his remarks during the Kitsap Credit Union Opening that families will be moving to downtown Bremerton. The four stores I mention at the beginning of my response are what is needed to get families to want to live and work downtown. An electronics store i.e. Radio Shack will allow business people to pick up supplies for their hand held, cell phones etc. Just like grocery stores, drug stores and dry cleaners will allow them to do that portion of their daily living which cannot be done in the Downtown at this time.
    So I ask you, would you want live Downtown and have to travel out of town for the basic essentials?

    I agree with the theatre, musuems, and other attractions to draw people to Bremerton.

  16. I absolutely did. And I disagree. How many Radio Shacks are in downtown Seattle? Tacoma? Bellingham? None. I concede the point for a dry cleaner or some such thing, but putting an electronic store high on the list of “must be here before we proceed” is wrong, in my mind. I live between Charleston and Downtown, and do actually have to leave town to buy these things. However, I don’t buy them often. I buy groceries a heckuva lot more.

  17. I’ve been to Augustino’s and I highly recommend it. Pricey, yes (Entrees are between $20-$30 for dinner), but well worth the price. The food is to die for–it appeals to both white & blue collar. It fits nicely between the new condo residents and the workers wanting to celebrate a special day.

    Concord, CA built a great multiplex in it’s downtown that has 16 theatres, is 2 stories with a diner in the same building next door to the theatre entrace, and the parking garage next door is 3 levels with doors from the movie theatre leading out into it. It is a beautiful building.

    A brewpub similiar to Silver City in Silverdale. That place is packed all the time and it would attract the condo people, the blue collar workers and the college kids.

  18. And I agree with a Comedy Club that caters to comedy only, that would bring in great local talent from the other side of the water and up from Tacoma. What we have now is part of a tavern’s rotatation of nightly entertainment and not all that impressive.

  19. It’ll be sometime before we see “families” downtown. We will begin to see more “couples” wandering around though. If you look at the condo units being sold by the two developers, the majority of the units are 1-2 bedroom and 1000 sq. ft. +/-.

    In any case, a grocery store would be ideal for downtown. Something along the lines of a Metropolitian Market like in Proctor or Capital Hill or a Town&Country Market on BI that featured a pharmacy. It would also be ideal to have a multi-plex theatre.

    I’d personally like to see retail, now currently only available in Seattle/Bellevue, in Bremerton (ie. Banana Republic, Express, J.Crew, North Face, etc.)

  20. If you want to bring the people to town or keep them once they are off the ferry you have to have the essentials for stopping them. Groceries, pharmacy, gasoline and maybe booze. Books, electronics, cleaners, boutiques and antiques haven’t had much success to date and even if one is doing well another one that comes along will only cause them both to slowly starve themselves out of business. How about a superstore like Walmart? If we had that downtown I’d never have to go anywhere and since those ugly condos have taken our view, I find walking around town an unhappy experience. The Harborside and Convention Center are not attractive colors and do not provide me with eye candy at all. Now I see the new Credit Union but what I’m really seeing is just another parking lot at eye level.
    Since the Penneys building is such an eye sore why not turn the first floor into a state of the art skating/bumper car/sking/ go carting/skate boarding/water sliding/slot car capital of the racing world. Speed Speed Speed. With Nascar coming? What else will gather the masses? How about guitars. cadillacs and hillbilly music and milk.
    All kidding aside, I don’t like the new downtown and thoughts of needing higher end this and that $20-30 meals, get real. We just need normal stuff for normal people. With Bryman comes students, students aren’t high end. The people that live downtown town aren’t even close and you think the condolians are going to want to mingle with homegrown real people? I’d just as soon they put up a fence around Harborside City and protect us all from them. Why would they want to move to our town in the first place? I want to see them cleaning up our streets and bettering our communities if they are going to be here.
    With the condolians came the loss of the eagle that was perched atop the mast of the Turner Joy. How did they get building permits with the eagles so close? I wonder if its still there?
    I would appreciate enlightenment on all my rude remarks, I love this place and hate to see it go to the dogs like this.
    Now when I want a view of Bremerton I go to the sixth floor of the No Dicks building and look down on the condolians condos and hope they enjoy my view since I can’t anymore.

    Peace and Hope

  21. I agree for the most part… but if Bremerton were really ‘going to the dogs’, it would be a much better place for it.
    A Costco in Bremerton, yes, Walmart, no.
    My opinion for what it is worth.

  22. Huh. I couldn’t disagree more. I like the changes in downtown. I think the convention center/boardwalk area is a fantastic place to just hang out, buy a cup of coffee and read the paper. Or, if I’m really feeling it, I’ll walk up the street to New Delhi, get myself some take out and sit out there and eat it (and if you haven’t been to New Delhi, go ASAP. It’s spectacular).

    If you want the Bremerton of 30 years ago, it simply isn’t coming back. And I far prefer the Bremerton of today to the Bremerton of 1984.

  23. And to clarify, I didn’t intend to lump 1984 and thirty years ago into the same subject. I actually meant two different eras. The Bremerton of 1976 and the Bremerton of 1984 were two completely different cities.

  24. Ok, so you want everybody to eat at the New Delhi, great. But did you see the eagle on the mast of the Turner Joy or the ferry arriving or leaving the terminal or in open water between Port Orchard, Manchester, or Southworth? For that matter can you see Port Orchard, Manchester, Southworth, Retzel or the foot ferry? Wow, I was concerned about the eagle that I couldn’t see anymore now I see I have lost it all. And I’m supposed to feel better about downtown if I sit and eat at the New Delhi? And by the way, I hear Fillipi’s has closed? Hey where can we get that $20-30 special at Simonaugusta?
    Who’s treating me to lunch?
    I’m sorry, that was a snide remark.
    I wish all of them well. Bone appetite.

    Yes yes lets go Costco and maybe going to the dog racing of sorts to add to our theme of speed speed speed–and what about a museum for old ships like a graveyard of war planes, where they can all go to rest and still be admired up close. We sort of have that going on now or so it looks. What about a sub to Seattle as a commuter trip for these new Bremites? Garage it under them. Sorry, rude again. I’ll shut up and hope to see this one.

  25. No, Barbara. If you are that bitter about what is going on in Bremerton, you should do more than write snippy comments on a fairly obscure blog. From my experience, actual action instead of whining tends to garner better results.

    I never saw this eagle you are speaking of, so I’m guessing I’m the wrong person to complain to. The only eagles I’m familiar with nest over in PO (which, by the way, I can see just fine from the ferry terminal, Manette, as I walk down Washington, etc.), but I hope nothing untoward happened with this one.

    I apologize for my enthusiasm about a restaurant I genuinely enjoy. Apparently it got in the way of your dumping on Bremerton, and for that I am deeply sorry.

    If you really dislike the direction the town is taking, I see three options:

    1) Do something about it, rather than complaining to me.
    2) Move.
    3) Keep complaining and do nothing.

    And truthfully, I have no idea what you are complaining about. Filippi’s closed, but that was their decision. They weren’t driven out of town, far as I know.

    Simon August is too spendy for you? Great, shut up about it and don’t go. I know I can’t afford it, but it somehow manages to not screw up my day.

    You don’t like Indian food? Great. Don’t go to New Delhi, more for me (especially during the lunch buffet).

    You don’t like the new public space by the convention center? Great. Stay away, and there’s more space for the rest of us to enjoy it.

    Your sour grapes contribute absolutely nothing to the present or the future, and that is all you have ever presented in these comments. You aren’t just being rude, Barbara, you’re being petulant.

  26. I would like to clarify that I said dinner entrees were pricey at Augustino’s. Appetizers, lunch and sides are in the same price line as Silver City or Whiskey Creek ($6-$12). If you can’t afford dinner, stop in for lunch, for a latte, some appetizers and a glass of wine, or perhaps dessert and coffee. The view there is great looking over Evergreen park and the water.

  27. Amy Burnett was the first person/business to make a significant investment into downtown Bremerton. The Kitsap County Historical Society Museum was the next. They put over a half-million dollars into the Museum building – creating a regional history center for all to enjoy.

  28. If there are people who are specifically requesting a moratorium on art galleries then they are significantly ignorant to the true culture this area has to offer. What’s next… no parks, no theatres, no varying colors for the exteriors of our homes, no landscaping, no…

    Oh, wait. I forgot. There is a history of mental laziness in many people who just sat and watched as the town deteriorated. The art galleries are one of the few original things you have going on here in town. I’ve been to Trader Joes, (Oh the glory) have you been to an art gallery of late? Specifically, have you visited The Wesley Gallery where we pride ourselves on bringing the best the area has to offer to you the viewer.

    It made me sick to see that people honestly don’t see the glory in celebrating our creative arts and would prefer yet another sterile cineplex over a real theater.

    Move somewhere where your ilk can wallow in its sachrine culture and beige pallette.

    Or let your brain continue to develop and embrace the community around you.

    Trumpeting that working class people don’t like art is just sick. I’m working class. My family is working class. We love art.

    Get a mirror and quick!

  29. The Wesley Gallery? Where is it and when did it come to Bremerton, Don?

    I’m sorry…didn’t know of it until now.
    Sharon O’Hara

  30. As part of private investment in downtown Bremerton (I opened Puget Sound Box & Shipping LLC in 2004 and my wife opened up Isella Day Spa LLC in 2006), we have invested significantly into what is now called the Harborside District. Granted, a box and ship store and a day spa in downtown Bremerton doesn’t mean that all the amenities are now available to residents of the entire community. But we are trying!

    This blog entry is about a year old, and many things have happened since it was first posted last year.

    I do believe that an anchor store like a grocery store in the Penney’s building will be key to the revitalization of the community. A grocery store will not only serve the “condolians” mentioned above, but will serve:
    – Commuters
    – Visitors staying in our Hampton Inn and future new hotel
    – Residents of the surrounding area not wanting to head to Safeway, FredMeyer, QFC, or Albertsons, and are looking for diversity
    – Employees and students within the Harborside
    – Downtown business owners like me that sometimes have to work late and would benefit from picking up groceries on our way home!

    In case you are unfamiliar with the plans for the JCPenney building, it is in the process of being sold, and the developer is actively looking into finalizing a deal with a grocery store (probably a name most of you are familiar with, but not one I mentioned above), so we will have our grocery store. And bookstore, among other things.

    Some other points based on the above posts. I have never seen an eagle on the mast of the Turner Joy in my 3 years in business just around the corner from the ship, but I have seen numerous eagles hovering around downtown, amongst the blue herons, geese, and our most obvious, seagulls.

    New Delhi Indian Restaurant is very good, very affordable, and the owner, Gorka, is always there. You become a regular, he will call you “family”. In fact, this Friday, Aug 3rd, they are hosting “Bollywood Night” from 9pm on, and I will be there supporting this event . If you are not sure what Bollywood is, come down and check it out!

    I love our galleries, and wish we had more. Don Wesley Gallery is a gem next to Evergreen Park, and Don does do a great job in not only promoting his own amazing art, but art of many other artists. Come down on First Friday Art Walk (his gallery is at the end of Pacific just next door to the park)…say hello to Don, and view the art on the walls.

    Filippis closed a long time ago, for personal reasons, per the owners. Since then, Badda Boom Badda Bing has moved in to the spot, completely remodeled it, and now serves up pizza and Italian food…at affordable prices again. This is their second location in Bremerton.

    Augustinos is really good…and unique! Portuguese cuisine, Simon August style.

    I don’t really see any crack or meth dealers downtown. Not to say my eyes are closed, but I do walk our streets almost daily. There was a problem when we first opened in 2004, and the transit area (which we were the first business anyone walking off the ferry would see) was chock-full of bad element. We, the proprietors and managers of the businesses, worked with Kitsap Transit and the police department to clean it up. Now, it is extremely safe (just walk down to see how many families with children are at the new Fountain Park…amazing!).

    There is a decent group of us who believe in our community, put our finances on the line to start a small business, and hire people. All we need is for folks who state “downtown Bremerton has nothing” to just come down one day and say hello. Maybe buy something too!

    Speaking of First Friday Art Walk, Isella Day Spa will be open from 5pm to 7pm showing the work of Katie Rains.

    I will also be there so folks can come by and say hello to me and ask questions or provide solutions to our city’s challenges.

    I will also be at Cornerstone Coffee Saturday morning from 9am to 11am for the same purpose, and maybe pour you a cup of coffee.

    Come by, say hello, and stay awhile.

    Carlos Jara
    City Council Candidate
    District 4

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