Old buildings in Poulsbo town center to be renovated

POULSBO – The Eliason building overlooks Front Street, its history dates back more than a century. Starting next summer, plans call for major renovations to the old three-storey structure and a neighboring building next door in a project that will give the south entrance to Poulsbo town center a new look.

The designs for both buildings include 7,000 square feet of retail/commercial space, a 2,000 square foot cafe, five housing units, and additional parking on Third Avenue. The buildings will be updated, refreshed and provided with new facades. A grassed area near the buildings will be transformed into a small public gathering space.

The project is planned by Poulsbo residents Kelly and Marnie Clark, who bought the old buildings in 2020. The addition of residential space has helped keep the project running financially, Kelly Clark said.

“I just want to do our part to help make Front Street more and more enjoyable,” he said. “Now that we can do some housing with it, it really helps. We don’t want to overcharge retail rental space because that drives smaller people to leave. »

Clark said he originally considered demolishing and starting over at the site, but said Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson asked him to revitalize the space instead. He accepted.

“Our goal is to try to maintain the overall shape of the building,” Clark said. “It’s not the most attractive building in the world, but we’re going to try to dress it up a bit…while keeping a bit of the Scandinavian vibe.”

Clark said construction would begin next summer.

A rendering showing renovations to buildings at the south end of Front Street.

After:Poulsbo’s Scandi Hotel restores Front Street space to historic use

The Eliason Building is named after Jorgen Eliason, known as community’s first permanent settler. According to Judy Driscoll, curator of the Poulsbo Historical Society, records show that the building was under construction in 1906, and that a general store operated by Jorgen’s son, EJ Eliason, occupied the building the same year.

Remarkably, the structure has survived the years since then, including managing to escape a large fire in 1914 that destroyed several downtown businesses.

For around a century, the building housed a Masonic lodge – Driscoll said the space was donated to the lodge in 1920, and Clark noted the lodge moved in 2020. Many businesses have taken up residence over the years. years, including the Eliason General Store and Fountain, Wallace Jewelry, Kitsap County Co-operative Grocery and Clothing stores and Montgomery Ward, Driscoll said.

Nathan Pilling is a reporter covering Bainbridge Island, North Kitsap and Washington State Ferries for the Kitsap Sun. He can be reached at 360-792-5242, [email protected] or on Twitter at @KSNatePilling.

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David H. Henry