The Crane Comes Down: Marina Square Takes Shape on the Bremerton Waterfront

By Josh Farley
Kitsap Sun
Posted: November 22, 2021

Building Marina Square, the $130 million double tower project on the Bremerton waterfront, has required some logistical creativity in an era of supply chain disruption.

Activating electricity, placing drywall and other tasks must normally wait for a full roof to be completed under Washington State Labor & Industries rules.

The problem: the roofing insulation won’t arrive until early 2022.

“We said ‘How do we find a way to get the building dry?'” said Derya O’Rourke, manager of Compass Construction, the contractor on the project.

They improvised: Compass had the waterproof membrane for the roof but not the insulation to complete it. So it installed a temporary roof that, in a few months, will be topped with insulation and another waterproof membrane. More expensive? Yes, but not near what it would have cost to keep the crews waiting on the floors below.

“Delays would have been astronomically more expensive,” said Marianne Weber,development manager for Sound West Group, the project’s owners. “At the end of the day, we have an added layer of water protection.”

It’s not the first time Sound West Group has had to pivot on the project, one of the biggest commercial undertakings in the county’s history. The pandemic and Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home orders hit as the two towers started to take shape. A hotel vendor dropped out. In its place, the south tower’s 155 units became “workforce” housing, to include 45 long-term units prime for Navy sailors and contractors working at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. The one-and two-bedroom units will run about $1,370 a month, Sound West CEO Wes Larson told the Kitsap Sun in a previous story.

The north tower’s 125 units will be priced at “market rate,” Weber said.

Both six-story towers, whose roofs will be covered with solar panels, include a “saw tooth”design that makes possible views of the marina and waterfront all the way to some units bordering Washington Avenue, said Weber, in a tour of the construction.

While project construction stalled for months during the onset of the pandemic, Weber said recent project milestones included the dismantling of the massive (and expensive) crane that’s loomed over the project since its beginning; and the installation of “hardie” panel siding around much of the project. Black bricks are being laid around the bottom floors of the towers, adding a distinct touch near the other “podium” style towers — the Harborside Condominiums and The “400” — built just north of Marina Square.

Both towers are built atop parking structures that will house 363 cars for residents and those leasing spots at the Bremerton Marina. A plan for a commercial space for a restaurant has been reduced in size but could be built out should the demand call for it, Weber said.

It’s shaping up to be a busy 2022 for the Bremerton developer Sound West Group. Aside from completing the construction of Marina Square by around the end of the year, the company will break ground on “Vanaheimr” a 27-unit complex on the site of the old Poulsbo Police Department. Rivulet, a 79-unit apartment project near the Clear Creek Trail in Silverdale, recently broke ground; and finally, the long-planned Evergreen-Pointe development of 123 apartments overlooking Evergreen-Rotary Park, is planned to move forward once permitting with the city is complete, Weber said.