Port Orchard is getting a little attention down in Tacoma thanks to the new bridge.
As cars head south on Interstate 5 by the Tacoma Dome, they pass a billboard picture of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge with the words “Close just got a little closer” and advertising a Quadrant Homes development adjacent to McCormick Woods.
The sign advertises homes starting at $220,000.
Within thirty minutes those cars could reach Quadrant’s development, The Ridge At McCormick Woods, sitting directly across the McCormick Woods neighborhood.
The bridge on the billboard indicates more than a convenient commute for new home buyers, its part of what brought Quadrant Homes into the area, said President Peter Oser.
The custom home company works primarily in King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties, but with the new bridge over the Tacoma Narrows and revitalization in Bremerton, the company started building in South Kitsap.
“Kitsap has been very strong because I think it’s been underserved for many many years,” Oser said. “There was an unmet demand in the Kitsap Peninsula that created an opportunity for us … we’re very excited about what’s happening in Kitsap and Bremerton.”
The advertisements are an attempt to draw in those home buyers working in Tacoma but looking for something more rural or less expensive than urban real estate.
Regarding the signs down in Tacoma, about a 30-minute drive from Port Orchard, Oser said: “I think the objective always is to draw from the widest area that you can.
“That bridge is really working quite well and opens up an opportunity for people to live deeper into the Kitsap County Peninsula and still work in Tacoma,” he said.
Quadrant sell homes based on models. Buyers pick a design from several model homes at the building site, select a lot and then visit a Quadrant Homes center in Bellevue to select specific details within the house or make adjustments to the basic design.
The neighborhood in South Kitsap is partially built, as construction begins on each home after the lot has been sold.
The area has 180 lots, many of which are sold.
Whether that opportunity spreads to other businesses in Port Orchard remains to be seen.
Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Coreen Haydock Johnson has seen the bridge make some positive changes in the area, but notes that many businesses are still struggling.
She has received inquiries from as far as Florida about developing within the area, and she thinks it could be due to the new bridge and eased traffic.
“I think generally that’s true or going to be true,” she said. “I think that’s because people recognize the bridge does make it easier.”
But she hopes with more people moving into the area, local businesses will reap the benefits after a tough winter.
“It was really slow for them this winter, and still a little slow,” she said. “We’ve lost members just because they just feel like they can’t afford the dues.”
But homes at least being built, and Oser is confident that in a difficult economic climate people will be looking for more affordable homes in smaller communities like McCormick.
“McCormick Woods has been there for years and years. It’s had a resurgance of late, and McCormick Ridge is a part of that,” he said, and he thinks buyers will resonate with that. “They’re looking for that little space in the world they can call their own.”