Bank move kicks off downtown PO redevelopment

The next step in the plan to revitalize the west end of downtown Port Orchard has been taken following the City Council’s approval of an agreement with Kitsap Bank for a new corporate headquarters building.

For over 45 years, Kitsap Bank headquarters have been located at 619 Bay St., just around the bend from its original 1908 location. Once again, the move is just a brief walk away and will now be directly across the street from the original bank’s location. “This is an exciting moment,” Mayor Rob Putaansuu said before the June 13 vote. “I can’t say enough about it, but it’s just one step. We’ve got so much more to do” to revitalize downtown.

The bank relocation is part of a grander plan to revive a slowly but surely suffering portion of downtown. The biggest of the ambitions are a new community center at the bank’s current location, which the city acquired in December of 2021 for roughly $2.5 million. Also planned is reconstruction and elevating of the downtown segment of Bay Street.

Putaansuu said the next step would likely be awarding a bid on improvements to the Marina Pump Station, which could occur within the next couple months. He said, “We have to have the infrastructure down there to support all of these buildings that we are proposing, and hopefully, the bank’s right on the heels of that project and our community center right after that.”

Along with a more polished look in what is proposed to be a 43,000 square feet, three-story bank building, it is also expected to add 50 jobs on top of its current staffing. It’s a step that Councilman Jay Rosapepe said, “Can’t come soon enough. I mean, we saw design work tonight, you know. We have an overall master plan, and I commend the mayor and staff for getting this moving forward.”

Councilman John Clauson agreed, calling it the catalyst to redevelopment. Clauson complimented Kitsap Bank for investing in the community. “I would acknowledge the fact that for many, many, many years, we have been doing things or trying to do things to start the revitalization of downtown, and I think between the community center and this project, I think we’re starting to see that transition.”