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Opus Northwest wins bid

The waterfront made all the difference.

The most important factor in choosing a the group to build the proposed hotel-restaurant/conference center/parking garage and marine park in Bremerton was preserving public access to the waterfront, according to Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman.

The project selection committee unanimously chose Minneapolis-based Opus Northwest Wednesday, April 3 to be the lead agency in developing the project.

“This is the first step, the anchor of downtown redevelopment,” Bozeman said.

At this tentative stage, the $48-million project will include a 100-room Marriott Fairfield Inn, parking for 600 cars, a 15,000-square-foot conference center, 50 high-end apartments or condos, Anthony’s Restaurant, and retail and office space. The complex will be adjacent to the Bremerton Transportation Center.

Over the next two months, Gary Sexton, the mayor’s downtown development project manager, will negotiate the nuances of the deal.

“We hope to have everything signed in 60 days,” Bozeman said.

Of the $48 million, $20 million comes from private development and $6.9 million is sales tax rebate money awarded by the Kitsap County Public Facilities District (PFD). The remainder will be raised by selling bonds to private investors.

To qualify for PFD money, ground must be broken on the project by Jan. 1. Some city officials said ground will break by summer. Other estimates put it in December — but well within the deadline.

“Timing is certainly going to be an issue,” said Bart Brynestad of Opus. “Everybody wants to proceed as soon as possible.”

The Opus design reveals a wide tapering plaza between the hotel and conference center, which will grant pedestrian access to the Bremerton Boardwalk and downtown.

“We didn’t want progress to take away public access,” Bozeman said.

The other finalists for the project were the Washington D.C.-based Carr America and New Century of La Jolla, Calif.

“I think this will have a big impact the rest of the community,” Bozeman said.

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