Makeover will bring coffee shop, yoga to waterfront locale

Rob and Kristi McGee plan to open a waterfront yoga studio and coffee shop in the Bay Street building they are remodeling.          - Brett Cihon/Staff photo
Rob and Kristi McGee plan to open a waterfront yoga studio and coffee shop in the Bay Street building they are remodeling.
— image credit: Brett Cihon/Staff photo

An old building on Bay Street is getting a makeover.

“It’s a whole new building,” said Rob McGee, the owner of the two-story building at 2065 Bay St. “People won’t even recognize it.”

McGee, 38, said Port Orchard locals will definitely notice some changes coming to the waterfront building next to the Annapolis foot ferry terminal. The building is undergoing a complete renovation before two new businesses — a café and a yoga studio — are slated to open up downstairs in early 2012.

“We’re taking an old building and breathing some life into it,” he said.

McGee and his wife, Kristi, bought the waterfront building last spring. Both South Kitsap High School grads and longtime Port Orchard residents, the two recall other businesses they’ve seen come and go at the location.

For a long time it was Happy Teriyaki, McGee said. Then it was a nightclub. But in most recent memory the building sat vacant for two years; something that McGee and his wife thought was a shame.

“It’s got such amazing views of the waterfront,” said Kristi McGee, pointing to the clear view across Sinclair Inlet. “It has a lot to offer.”

McGee and his wife hope to capitalize on the building’s amazing views. They are installing large windows that will face the water and, in warm weather, can be raised like garage doors, making the coffee shop and the yoga studio open-air. McGee said on a sunny day with a breeze coming in, he couldn’t imagine a more scenic spot on the water.

“It’s a great feature, especially for the yoga,” he said.

Of course, the renovation means more than view windows. As the president of Fox Fire Prevention Inc., a general contracting service based in Port Orchard that works to bring buildings and offices up to fire code, McGee knows his way around a comprehensive remodel. He and his contracting team have worked since September to add radiant-heat floors, refinished tongue-and-groove ceilings and outdoor pine plank siding.

Those additions, he thinks, will attract a renter upstairs.

“Upstairs is great for an office or for a restaurant,” he said, noting that a restaurant in tough economic times might not be the most realistic option, but that the views would make for a romantic setting.

While they hope to rent the upstairs, downstairs will be manned by the McGees.

A localized specialty coffee shop is something the community is missing, McGee said. The shop, to be named Whiskey Gulch Coffee Co. in honor of a neighboring creek, will have a hint of a Wild West theme, while serving blends from Seattle roaster Victrola Coffee and offering free wi-fi. McGee intends the setting to be place where neighbors can sit back, enjoy the views and sip some good joe.

Next door at Annapolis Fitness, Kristi McGee hopes patrons will enjoy the view from a different angle. A yoga instructor for seven years, she will run the studio like a co-op, giving each instructor the freedom to organize classes as they see fit.

“It will be a fitness boutique,” she said.

Ryan Hayter, a friend of the McGees who runs a public relations agency based in the area, said he’s excited that the couple have taken a big step to improve the community they grew up in.

“We need to start making investments in this town. We need to breathe some new life in here,” he said. “There’s no reason something like this can’t succeed.”

Rob McGee definitely ponders ideas such as long-term investments and the health of downtown. But with a planned opening date of late February or early March, he’s more concerned with trying to get all the necessary wiring and heating installed by opening day.

When asked to reflect on the building, though, he’s quick to mention one thing:

“Look at that waterfront. It’s amazing.”

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