Trio of projects take off

Preliminary work on the city of Bremerton’s Memorial Plaza, Maritime Park and Building 51 projects should be completed before the end of the year.

The city’s request for qualifications for the Memorial Plaza, Building 51 and Maritime Park turned out some of the best teams in Washington, Oregon, California and Nebraska, said Gary Sexton, director of economic development.

“Developers and architects are coming to Bremerton because they see it as a new opportunity is being built rather than planning,” Sexton said. “It’s not just an interest in the future but it is current opportunity for economic growth and development.”

The city selected five finalists for the proposals and completed interviews earlier this month, he said.

The next phase is for those finalists to develop a preliminary schematic design, which should be ready by the middle of December, he said.

“I would hope to have the concept design in place by April 2005 with work scheduled to begin in January 2006,” Sexton said. “ I expect it to move along very quickly.”

All of the agencies involved with the BTC access project, the Navy’s 9-11 related construction and the city’s projects are continuing to work well together, he said.

“All those departments and agencies are working together to make those opportunities occur seamlessly,” he said.

While the interest and development of those projects are currently on the front burner, the city is gaining interest from other private companies as well.

“Bremerton is being recognized around the state of Washington as the most active place for economic development and growth,” he said. “It’s being known as a place that is on the pathway to urban development.”

Several retailers are interested in Bremerton and are in the process of doing their own feasibility studies, he said.

“Businesses want to feel that there is something and be confident that there will be success,” he said. “Anthony’s is an indication the people have the conclusion that this is going to be a good retail location.”

As the city nears the end of 2004, Sexton said the key to continued economic development is staying aggressive and working as a team.

“All the cornerstones of the foundation are in place and we just have to stay on top of them,” he said.

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