Sound Brewery gives up on Courtesy Ford property

POULSBO — Sound Brewery has decided to abandon its pursuit of the former Courtesy Ford property on Viking Avenue.

Sound Brewery was among two likely buyers of the former Courtesy Ford property that has sat empty on Viking Avenue since the business closed in 2011. The brewery made an offer on the property in October, but negotiations have since fallen flat. Brewery owner Mark Hood said that he has ceased pursuing the deal and is looking elsewhere.

"At least for now," Hood said. "I'll be looking for a good spot over the next couple of years without a rush, since we can now move forward with what we needed to do."

What Hood needed to do was find a place to expand Sound Brewery. He had purchased new equipment that will grow the operation and pump out more brew. The $2.3 million site nearby, with an excess of 40,000 square feet, seemed like a perfect fit.

"For the last six months, Sound Brewery has been actively looking for properties in Poulsbo that would allow us to expand our capacity, have better parking, and a more comfortable space for our guests," Hood said. "Options for entertainment, food service, and events would have been ideal, but most of all we needed a place to install a new, high-capacity brewhouse."

The property is currently in receivership. Hood made an offer in September to buy the site and was hoping to negotiate with sellers and move into the building in 2014. By early December, an official with CBRE, the company handling the property's sale, said they were not considering any current offers. The company maintains that there is no current movement to sell the property.

"Unfortunately, we couldn't come to terms on any suitable property as quickly as we needed so we've had to change our plans a bit," he added. "The plan now is to install our new high-tech brewhouse on Viking Avenue directly across from Bovela Lane, the site of our current brewery and tasting room."

The brewery's operation will slowly make a move across the street over the next couple of years. It has already purchased more equipment to expand its production.

Sound's current tasting room, however, will remain in service for customers. The plan that Hood has shifted to will keep Sound Brewery flowing and help the business grow. But Hood hasn't given up on finding a new, permanent location.

"Meanwhile, we'll continue looking for other options in the area that will allow us to better serve our local customers who've really made this expansion possible and necessary," he said.

Had Sound Brewery made a move into the former Courtesy Ford property, Hood would have greatly increased his company's output — up to 20 times its current ability, Hood previously estimated. He was also considering starting a canning facility for Sound Brewery. Hood said that the site would have been perfect for festivals.

The other likely buyer for the Courtesy Ford site is the Kitsap Children's Musical Theatre, which has used the vacant building as a practice space over the past year.

While the theater currently does not have the means to buy the property, KCMT officials have previously expressed confidence in their ability to hold onto the site. KCMT board president Gene Johnson said in December that he is “fairly confident that we’ll have another year” on the property, to give KCMT time to raise money to purchase the site.

The theater hopes to haggle the price down to around $1.5 million, Johnson said in December.

Hood hopes that the property will eventually house a business that will help Viking Avenue recover from its economic downturn.

"Selling it may become a priority for them at some point. I hope it does," Hood said.

"I'd like to see anyone buy it who's going to improve it, make it look good, bring in customers to the area, use the space for events, etc. Maybe KCMT can do that."

— North Kitsap Herald reporter Kipp Robertson contributed to this report.


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