Mentor family tied to two city hall bids

POULSBO — With a handful of newfound possibilities for the long-awaited city hall project, Mayor Kathryn Quade is optimistic that the building will finally become a reality.

City planning director Barry Berezowsky warned the city council the proposals could be akin to “comparing apples to brownies” ahead of the April 30 deadline.

Of the five proposals, two have striking similarities that could portend a significant reshaping of the city’s downtown core both by land and sea.

Those submittals are the one from the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority and from King Olav Development, LLC, which is a conglomerate of the Mentor Company, Drury Construction and Lewis Architecture.

At the heart of each proposal is the placement of city hall or a hotel, where Nilsen’s Appliance Center currently resides at the intersection of Front Street and Jensen Way.

However, the plans themselves are a contrast in scope and scale, although each has the required 30,000 square feet of space for city hall.


LMN Architects

The KCCHA is no stranger to Little Norway with numerous projects scattered throughout the city including the Austurbruin neighborhood near the North Kitsap High School and the Community Recreation Center building.

While those projects are notable in themselves, the housing authority has displayed its prowess in economic redevelopment with government catalysts in Bremerton, and its proposal for Poulsbo features many of those same elements.

Instead of building on the existing city hall site, the KCCHA’s plan is construct a new facility at the current community center site on the north end of Front Street.

Connected to city hall would be a 20,000-square-foot community center, which would house the city’s parks and recreation department, Kitsap Mental Health Services and the Kitsap Health District.

A total of 130 parking spaces are part of the structure with 100 underground spots and 30 above ground.

But the group didn’t stop with merely a municipal campus building, it also laid out designs for a 10,000-square-foot museum, a 10,000-square-foot conference center and a 60-75 room boutique hotel.

The conference center and museum would be located at the existing city hall site and part of the King Olav parking lot, while the hotel is anticipated to sit on the Nilsen’s Appliance Center building, which is owned by the Mentor family.

Between the three structures, a total of 310 parking spaces are proposed in bi-level garages.

No cost estimates were given for any of parts of the proposal, although the city would only be responsible for financing the city hall space.

King Olav Development, LLC

King Olav Development is a partnership between the Mentor Company, Drury Construction and Lewis Architecture. The Mentors have the property, Drury Construction has the building know-how and Lewis Architecture offers the design skill.

The partnership has proposed to build city hall, featuring 30,000 square feet of office space and 7,000 square feet of retail area, on the Nilsen’s Appliance Center site. The cost of the building is estimated at $13.7 million.

There would be 70 to 80 parking stalls with the new building and an additional 180-190 spaces on the existing city hall site.

Even though the city hall building is the only detailed proposal submitted by the partnership, its submission also mentions the idea of a two-story parking garage on the existing city hall site and relocating the police station to 10th Avenue to make room for another parking garage on that site.

A notable correlation between the King Olav proposal and the KCCHA proposal is that the development company states, “The Kitsap Consolidated Housing Authority is interested in taking on this phase of the project (hotel and convention center on the existing city hall site) regardless whether their proposed site is selected as the future location for city hall.”

In the May 12 Herald, the proposals from the Pioneer Property Group, Strandloof Properties, LLC and Egis Real Estate Services will be reviewed in greater detail.

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