Harborside condos grace city skyline

County commisioners and city officials took part in the ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday at the Bremerton condos. - Photo by Jesse Beals
County commisioners and city officials took part in the ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday at the Bremerton condos.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

The days of vendors hocking T-shirts sarcastically proclaiming “Bremerton: America’s finest waterfront parking” officially came to an end Oct. 5 as the Harborside Condominiums marked the city’s transformation into one of the nation’s most beautiful waterfronts.

“This is a great day for our city,” Mayor Cary Bozeman proclaimed as the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority’s 78-unit condominium project was unveiled to the public during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

When the idea for the condos was first floated, it drew no interest from the private sector until the housing authority stepped in and found a way to make it happen, Bozeman said.

“It took tremendous courage to build and the belief in a lot of Bremerton that this would happen,” he said.

That courage and belief has been rewarded as the condos are but one piece of the revitalization of Bremerton, he said.

“We could not have gotten any of this done without the county, without the county housing authority and without the port,” he said.

Those partners played an integral role in making the project happen at a time when not many outside Kitsap County dared to believe that it could, Bozeman said.

KCCHA board president Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade said the project is an example of what the housing authority can do as a community redevelopment agency, even in a city, which has its own housing authority like Bremerton.

“I believe what helps Bremerton helps the rest of the county,” Quade said. “The Harborside Condos are 100 percent privately financed and the project goes back on the tax rolls once it’s completed.”

As the main financial backer of the project, Bank of America market executive for community development banking for the West region Gail Lannoy from Los Angeles said the first time she heard about the project was in a conference room in the bank’s Seattle offices.

Those discussions resulted in the bank finding a way to provide the necessary financing for the project through creative avenues, Lannoy said.

“At the end of this what you have is the first step of hopefully many of the revitalization of a community,” Lannoy said.

KCCHA executive director Norm McLaughlin thanked the housing authority’s board of directors for having a firm belief in the project and making it a reality.

“It’s very difficult to do condos, but we work very hard at it and we’re very good at it,” McLaughlin said.

Another one of the key players in the condos’ success was Reid Real Estate agent Janice Haynes, who passed away earlier this year, he said.

“She was the leader, and she was an inspiration to us all,” he said.

While several other people deserve credit for the success of the project, McLaughlin said the most important people are those who have purchased the condos.

“The owners are the true urban pioneers,” McLaughlin said.

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