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EDS site offered to City of Poulsbo

POULSBO — One month before city officials announced the selection of the proposed 10th Avenue location for Little Norway’s municipal campus, a local leasing agent made an alternate proposal.

With information technology firm EDS announcing its intentions to move out of Poulsbo Village, property manager Beverly Lyon began the search for a new tenant or tenants for the space.

“I wanted to try to provide a short-term solution to what I thought was everybody’s problem,” Lyon explained, noting that she had been keeping a close eye on the city’s visioning process and planned municipal campus.

Her proposed solution was to have the city lease the 26,673-square feet of space vacated by EDS, which is just shy of the 26,757-square feet requested under the most recent municipal campus plans. The building has 35,040-square feet in total space but currently has three other tenants including Curves, the Kitsap Children’s Institute and the Glen Elden Institute.

“I figured if you want to go out and build something it would take at least five years,” she said of the originally proposed five-year lease.

However, the property owners could be willing to negotiate up to a 25-year lease with the city.

With that idea in mind, Lyon explained that she spoke with Mayor Donna Jean Bruce on the morning of June 23 outlining her proposal and sent a letter, which the Herald obtained a copy of, to the mayor later that afternoon.

“She took notes and said she would talk to somebody, but I still haven’t heard anything back,” Lyon said Wednesday afternoon.

The mayor had a different story.

“We looked at absolutely everything and the 10th Avenue site was the best choice. We didn’t look at the EDS site because it wasn’t available when we were looking and we didn’t know about until your article ran,” Mayor Bruce said Friday.

However, the North Kitsap Herald’s article ran July 27. Lyon’s letter to the mayor was dated June 23, roughly one month earlier.

“If the proposed site doesn’t work out, we would probably take a look at it, but I guess we would cross that bridge when we came to it,” she added.

Before she took the idea to the mayor, Lyon said she discussed it with the property owners, Laurelhurst Apartments Company in Seattle, who encouraged her to pursue the option.

“They thought it would be a great idea and urged me to contact the mayor and discuss it,” she remarked, adding that the property owners expressed a desire to do whatever was required to make the proposal work including a willingness to discuss interior remodeling and other possible improvements.

“The space was already broken up into offices and we would find the best way to make it work,” she explained. “However, we never got that far.”

The EDS building is already equipped with most of the communications backbone the city is seeking to add, including phone lines, T-lines and other technical improvements.

Also in late June, EDS was seeking a buyer for its office furnishings as part of its real estate consolidation efforts, Lyon said, adding that the company recently found a buyer and those furnishings are no longer available.

“We would have given the city the very best deal possible and were very open to discuss it,” she said.

While not giving exact numbers on how much the lease would cost, Lyon said the cost be negotiated within the current range of commercial leases in the area.

In addition to meeting the square-footage requirements, the location has 139 available parking spaces. Even though the building currently has a concrete exterior, plans have already been made to erect new facades throughout Poulsbo Village in addition to other planned improvements, she said.

Those improvements would help the building blend in better with the surrounding area and will be done regardless as to what the city decides, she said.

“They want to make it a place where everyone wants to go, and even though we’re talking to a couple of other possible tenants, it’s still available,” she said.

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