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Port commissioners debate re-roofing vacant building

To roof or not to roof? That seems to be the question for Bremerton Port Commissioners.

Commissioners are pondering whether to roof a building known as the old concrete precast building that is currently empty, but that may still have potential.

The building, previously owned by Fred Hill Materials, is open on three sides and has been used for precasting concrete propane tanks and for lumber storage. It was discussed during last week’s commission meeting and led to some heated debate.

Commissioner Roger Zabinski told his counterparts that before anything happened with the building, he wanted port staff to lay out all the possible options.Although the roof repair, estimated to be $72,000, is in the current year’s operating budget, Zabinski said he didn’t think it was a prudent use of taxpayers’ dollars to roof the building, unless the port would recover the costs by leasing it.

“We don’t have a ready tenant for it,” said Zabinski.

“Before we go o

ut for an RFP (request for proposals) for the roof, I think we need to consider all the options.”

But port commissioner Larry Stokes said he thought the port had only one choice.

“The only solution for that building is to put a roof on it or lose it,” Stokes said, referring to the fact that if it isn’t soon roofed, it won’t be worth saving. “I don’t think staff should spend time looking into this anymore.”

Stokes said he had, on his own, had the building looked at and that it would cost about $50,000 to have it torn down. He said the crane that is in the building, which was used by the pre-casting business, wasn’t worth much.

“It’s not going to be any more than $12,000 for salvage,” Stokes said. “It would cost more than that to take it out.”

Stokes added that the crane is not the value in the building for future leasing. He said the value is the tracking system that runs from one end of the building to the other.

Port CEO Tim Thomson said the building has been marketed and that the port has “come close” twice to having it leased. He said it was being inspected to see if there was any asbestos which would have to be abated prior to the roofing getting underway.

Commissioner Axel Strakeljahn said that he’d like to know more about the building before weighing in.

Zabinski said his concern is that the port may spend the $72,000 to re-roof the building and still not have a tenant.

“If we complete the project, and spend the money, we don’t know if we’d get a return on our investment,” he said. “With it being open on three sides, it’s going to take a very specific tenant and we really haven’t identified anyone. Even if we would use it for RV storage, it would take years to get any return on our investment.”

Zabinski pointed out that no one even knows if the crane in the building works and asked that it be tested. He also questioned whether the building would need other upgrades before it could be marketed, including siding the other three sides to enclose the structure, electrical and lighting upgrades, and closing a hole in the ground level floor.

“Basically, I would like to know the project scope and plans for marketing it before we go any further,” Zabinski said.

Thomson, however, said no action was needed by the commissioners and that the staff planned to go forward with soliciting bids for roofing the building.

“Commissioners, this project is in the budget and we’re ready to go out for bid,” he said. “And, yes, we’ll test the crane and see if it works.”

 

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