New St. Vincent’s building inches closer to completion

Once the new St. Vincent de Paul building in Port Orchard is completed and occupied, perhaps by April, Sean Jeu, operations director, no doubt will breathe a huge sigh of relief.

Construction at its Mitchell and Bethel avenue site finally is progressing after a nearly one-month delay in pouring the second half of the building’s concrete floor.

“We’ve been having a hard time because of the weather,” Jeu said. “You need two days of dry weather in order to pour the slab properly.

“The inspector would come out and give the go-ahead, then the next day, it would rain.”

From start to finish, the effort to find a new home for the longtime Port Orchard not-for-profit organization has been fraught with stutter steps, setbacks and delays. When the land it currently sits on along Bay Street was purchased by Bruce Titus Port Orchard Ford more than a year ago for its new dealership showroom expansion, Jeu and the organization’s board of directors set about to find a new home in the area.

A search for existing building space proved fruitless, Jeu said, because the asking price for leasing terms all proved to be too rich for their budget. St. Vincent subsequently purchased a 2.9-acre parcel of property between Bethel and Mitchell roads where it could construct a new building.

That was just the beginning of a series of road bumps for the thrift store and social services agency.

After a dogged search for a bank to mortgage the construction, St. Vincent reached an agreement with Kitsap Credit Union — provided they could come up with a larger-than-expected down payment.

With time running short, Jeu and the agency conducted an emergency fundraising effort to fulfill the bank’s requirements.

While South Kitsap residents came through with donations for the down payment, it was Bruce Titus who put the effort over the top.

“He really helped us out,” Jeu said. “In fact, he’s been phenomenal by donating money for the down payment. He also paid a large piece of the ($68,000) traffic impact fee” imposed by the city.

In all, Titus has given $40,000 to St. Vincent for the new structure, Jeu said.

When Henderson Partners of Gig Harbor began construction this fall, owner Jon Wall said he was cautious about setting a firm completion date because of the typically rainy Northwest weather in the winter.

While at the construction site earlier this week, Wall was busy dealing with a challenging issue — muddy roads into the site and road blockage on Mitchell.

As of this week, almost all of the south side of the metal roof has been put down, as well as one side of exterior metallic siding. Jeu said the roof work has stalled because of icy conditions in the morning that have made installation dangerous.

He expects the new $2 million building to open sometime in April, about a month later than expected.

He said the organization’s 20 employees will move up the hill from the waterfront location to work at the new building.

The $2 million St. Vincent de Paul building (viewed from Mitchell Road) is expected to be completed sometime in April.                                Bob Smith | Kitsap Daily News

The $2 million St. Vincent de Paul building (viewed from Mitchell Road) is expected to be completed sometime in April. Bob Smith | Kitsap Daily News