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Development group eyes new office space

Eager to capitalize on the fast-paced growth of the Bethel Road corridor, Bethel Development Group has asked the City of Port Orchard for permission to build an 8,600-square-foot building next door to existing offices at 2453 Bethel Road.

The group is currently in the process of buying the half-acre property from its owners, a retired couple. The couple live in a mobile home on the property and have found a new place to live after the sale goes through.

However, Bethel Development co-owner Norm Olsen, Jr. said the group will not close on the sale until the couple is fully moved out. In fact, he added, Bethel Devlopment’s decision to pursue this project now was largely dependent on the couple’s decision to leave.

“Frankly, Bethel Avenue is the prime place for an office building,” Olsen said. “The couple next door were leaving and it seemed like the right time.”

The proposed two-story building is actually intended as the first half of a two-part construction/remodel project. The new site, at 2443 Bethel, will serve as an annex of sorts for the offices at 2453 Bethel.

The existing offices, Olsen explained, are in need of a remodel. Currently, they house 15 workers between three Olsen family-owned companies.

Olsen is the owner of the headlining business, N.L. Olsen and Associates. His brother-in-law, Robert Baglio, heads up a construction management firm named BJC Group. A third family-owned company, ISC Environmental Inc., installs water quality devices.

The renovations will be extensive, Olsen said. A second story will be added to the current building, adding 2,20 square feet to the existing 3,300 square feet, for a total of 5,500 square feet. Ideally, Olsen explained, he and his brother-in-law would prefer not having to do business with a remodel going on over their heads.

The new building, he said, will serve as temporary space for their workers while the work on the old building is going on.

“I like the old building,” Olson said. “It’d be nice to have the extra space.”

The new building, when completed, will be leased out to tenants. Olson said the design was left deliberately flexible so the interior could be reconfigured to accommodate anything from a half-dozen tenants to a single occupant. However, Olsen said he’s expecting several small companies to apply, not one big one.

“That’d be a pretty big space for one group around here,” he said.

The parking lots of the two buildings will be linked, and the lot capacity doubled to 49 stalls. Olsen said the landscaping will be matched with the existing landscaping to create a unified appearance.

Baglio, who will be taking on the design portion of the project, said the buildings’ facades would also be designed to blend in with each other and their neighbors.

“It’s going to have something of a Northwest look to it,” he said.

Construction, if and when it begins, is only expected to take six to eight months and have minimal impact on the surrounding community. Stormwater will be handled by an underground storage vault and contaminant collector — provided by ISC Environmental. In fact, Olsen said, the entire project is being handled entirely in-house.

“We’ll do everything,” he said.

Bethel Development will need the city council to approve a re-zone on the property — the current zoning is residential and the builders need a commercial designation — and sign off on the site plan. However, because — according to Olsen — there has been no resistance from nearby residents and strong approval from the city planning commission, the hearing before the city council Monday night is expected to go smoothly.

City engineer Larry Curles reviewed the site plans and said he didn’t see anything to object to.

“This one’s really consistent with the pattern of the neighborhood,” he said. “I don’t expect there’ll be any problems.”

The public hearing on the project will start at 7:35 p.m. on Monday and will take place in city council chambers on the third floor of the Port Orchard City Hall.

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