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Big business changes ahead for Olhava

POULSBO — After almost a three-year gap between developments, Olhava and College Marketplace are getting some attention.

“They’re in the commercial zone. When you get that critical mass started then the project starts developing much quicker. It’s just ready to go,” Olhava project manager Kent Berryman said.

Olhava and College Marketplace is located on the North End of Poulsbo where State Route 305 and State Route 3 meet.

Beginning this summer, a Big 5 Sporting Goods store will open next to Office Max, followed by the construction of a 38,000 square-foot medical and dental office building, 82,987 square-foot Marine View Beverage building, the expansion of Olympic College and a tournament sized soccer field.

Big 5 Sporting Goods is not closing its Silverdale store.

“(Silverdale is) one of their top stores in the district in terms of sales and they’ve always wanted to get a location in North Kitsap as well,” Steve Ruggiero, president of First American Properties said. He has worked closely with the Olhava development since its inception.

A medical hub, the product of Harrison Medical Center and Olympic Radiology, might see construction begin by the end of June. Gary Durday, managing member of Poulsbo Professional Properties and Olympic Radiology, said Olhava was the ideal place to develop.

It allows greater access to the counties bordering Kitsap to the north, in addition to Bainbridge and Poulsbo, but is close to Silverdale and Bremerton, he said.

Olympic Radiology will likely have five and seven general practitioners in the building when it opens. Construction should be complete by the end of this year, Durday said.

The next development will be Marine View Beverage, which is moving its distribution center from Bremerton.

“We really don’t steal from each other; what happened though was a necessity,” Poulsbo council member Ed Stern said. “They couldn’t expand in Bremerton.”

Marine View Beverage is looking to start construction in June, hoping to have their facility completed by early 2011.

Olympic College also is a major player in the Olhava and College Marketplace, as it is purchasing five acres of land for future development to accommodate more students. The city is hoping to add a tournament soccer field when funding becomes more viable.

Updated plans include beautifying the surrounding area. Complications with the Washington Department of Transportation kept Olhava from landscaping certain areas.

“Now we can clean it up and make it like you’re driving into a major shopping area master plan community. It’s going to get much closer to what the original intent was for design,” Ruggiero said.

The Olhava Master Plan Development was created in 1994, and the development process has stopped and started several times. With its first commercial development being Wal-Mart in 2003, the last major commercial addition was Petco in 2007. City leaders are hoping to see a majority of the commercial area developed and in use by 2012.

“What we’re shooting for up there is family-wage local jobs, creating cashflow after a drought period. And in Poulsbo that drought was a long one, it was about 10 years,” Stern said. The term family-wage job is a characterization of a wage and benefits package that enables families to sustain themselves, Stern said.

Bringing this kind of development to Poulsbo means not only enlarging opportunities in the community but attracting outside interest.

“The biggest thing is to understand that one of the things that is working for the North End of the county is that we are the front door to Seattle,” Stern said. “There’s more going on here than local.”

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