Myhre's permit includes upstairs apartments

If everything goes to plan, the iconic downtown restaurant Myhre's should soon have a new facade. And people living upstairs.

The owners of the expansive restaurant located at 739 Bay St., John and Mindy Lora, have applied for a permit with the City of Port Orchard to renovate the building to have five upstairs apartments, as well as a change in the building's exterior.

Review of the permits are underway by the city's Design Review Board, an independent panel of citizens that makes non-binding recommendations to the Port Orchard City Council about downtown building design. The seven-member design review board is designed to maker sure new development complies with the adopted design guidelines for the downtown district.

In August, the city's public examiner will perform a review on a separate Shoreline Substantial Development permit for Myhre's, a step necessary for any construction occurring within 200 feet of the shoreline.

Both the Design Review Board and Shoreline Substantial Development reviews are required before a permit for development is issued by the city. The city council has the final say in exterior design approval before permitting, said the city's development director, James Weaver.

Two members from the Design Review Board met with city staff and Myhre's project manager, Larry Shier, Tuesday to discuss potential improvements to the intended design for the building, originally constructed in 1923.

David Fall, a member of the review board, said he would like to see the project incorporate brick into the facade, instead of the projected stone and wood face submitted in the design.

"The brick would be a real subtle historic reference," Fall said.

Shannon Childs, a member of the review board, also said she wanted to make sure the owners of Myhre's were incorporating brick design aspects of late 19th and early 20th century Port Orchard into the building's exterior. A large part of the board's focus, she said, was to bring consistency to the design of the buildings downtown, making sure they fall in line with Port Orchard's historical feel.

Childs said she was happy to see the restaurant rebuilding after a three-alarm fire on July 1, 2011, shut it down for more than a year.

"It's good to see we are moving forward and rebuilding after the fire," she said.

Mindy Lora said she and her husband decided to build apartments upstairs instead of the banquet area that was there before the fire. She called the banquet area mostly wasted space and said it was rarely used. She said the great view and great location of the upstairs apartments should be a big draw for apartment hunters.

"We're excited about the apartments," she said, noting that the income from apartments will help keep the restaurant open longterm.

However, Lora said she wished the building plans didn't have to go through so many reviews before a permit was issued and construction on the apartments and building front could get underway. After the Design Review Board, the permits will have to be approved by the city council. "There are 10 committees here," she said, laughing. "We just want it figured out."

Shier said previously that construction on the apartments, the restaurant and the exterior should be finished in 2013. The Design Review Board will submit official suggestions to Port Orchard city staff before the design goes to the council. A public hearing is scheduled for August on the Substantial Shoreline Development permit.


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