Investors buying up Bay St.

Downtown Port Orchard may soon be under new management.

Many of the downtown buildings that comprise Port Orchard’s Bay Street corridor have been optioned to a group of investors represented by real estate broker Rich Clauson, brother of Port Orchard City Councilman John Clauson.

“John kept telling me about Port Orchard and how we should help do something about it,” said Clauson, who grew up in Port Orchard but has since moved south. “We hope that everyone will be on board in the spirit of collaboration.”

Clauson started making offers to business owners several weeks ago and already has an option to buy both of Howard Minor’s vacant properties, the Grande Olde Central Antique Store, Myhre’s Restaurant and several other downtown buildings yet to be named.

“I’ve lived in this town for 50 years,” Minor said. ““But due to the changing of hands I’m not sure I want to stay.”

Minor’s buildings, the Applegate building next to Myhre’s also known as the original theater building and the “mall” at the end of that block, are optioned for $1 million.

Myhre’s, owned by John and Mindy Lora, is optioned for $800,000 and Gerry Bruckart’s antique store for $700,000.

Money has yet to change hands since the investors have four months to decide if they want the property, and then another four-month option to finalize the transactions.

Clauson said all of the investors involved in the project are local, stemming from Gig Harbor, Tacoma, Seattle and Camano Island.

According to Clauson, the project requires that most of the block be purchased so investors are free to tear down the existing buildings and rebuild what Clauson’s wife and a partner in the project, Sandra Clauson, describes as an “aesthetically attractive, beautiful” new facade with the potential for mixed-use development.

“They really want to construct a quality faccade,” Clauson said. ““The main thing is to acquire the property. We’re not trying to cheat anybody. We want to pay a fair price for the it.”

Clauson said that while new businesses will inevitably come in if the property is acquired and the project is a go, the investors are committed to keeping the existing downtown merchants.

“We’re really concerned about the local merchants,” Clauson said. “We want to keep them. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure they’re taken care of. The project manager is very sensitive to the local residents and the local needs.”

Clauson is still making offers on buildings, but reports he is very close to ensuring the project comes through.

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