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Downtown has prime real estate

It is six stories tall.

104,000 square feet of office space.

A monument of steel and glass.

And according to Mayor Cary Bozeman, its is one of the most important things ever built in the city of Bremerton.

“That is a world class building,” he said, referencing the nearly complete government center project on Sixth Street. “It’s as good a building as you will find in Seattle.”

To Bozeman, that’s a big accomplishment.

He is trying to make Bremerton as appealing to live and work in as the “Emerald City,” a smaller version with just as much class.

It’s why he posted the words “BOOM TOWN” on the entrance to city hall and his office door.

“It’s the name of a book I am reading,” he said. “It’s about the seven keys to success in small towns. There’s a real boom in terms of people wanting to live in small towns in the neighborhood of big cities.”

The $27 million building will house many of the city staff on the very top floor, with astounding views of the Olympic and Cascade Mountain range, the city bellow and waters of the Puget Sound.

“It is nearing 85 percent completion of the outer shell,” said Gary Sexton, director of economic development.

The interior should be complete by late August or early September, Sexton said.

It will house the 50 employees currently at City Hall, as well employees of the Bremerton Housing Authority, Kitsap Health District, the Navy, Kitsap County and Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority.

Sexton gave the Bremerton City Council an update on the funding of the interior office space of the city’s share of building on Tuesday night, saying early construction bids came in $200,000 over the city’s budgeted amount.

“It is substantially over,” he said. “Our design was as frugal as we could get it.”

Still, Sexton is going to meet with the construction contractor Baugh-Skanza on Monday to go over the bids and find ways to reduce costs closer to the $450,000 the city budgeted for furniture, fixtures and equipment, or FFE, as Sexton termed it.

“The real goal is to keep it on budget,” Bozeman said.

If it does go over budget, Bozeman and Sexton have not proposed ideas yet where to get the money.

“I usually don’t think negatively,” Sexton said. “I find solutions.”

Referencing the book “BOOM TOWN,” Bozeman said attitude is one of the things that makes cities successful.

“You have to adopt a can-do attitude,” he said. “Then you have to have a vision of what you want to be. It’s as simple as that. You have to believe you can get there.”

Besides the interior costs, one other issue facing the government center is parking.

The City Council spent a half hour in their Tuesday meeting discussing how secure the access should be to the underground parking section, to avoid a possible terrorist attack.

“Underground parking is an invitation,” Cecil McConnell said. “Especially in this day and age.” Council Member Brad Gehring referenced the World Trade Center attack of 1993, when a truck was exploded by a terrorist in an attempt to take one of the towers down from the parking garage level.

Sexton said having an attendant at the entrance of the garage would not be financially feasible, but said the building is currently wired for automatic gates.

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