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February 12, 2024

Once a vacant Sears auto shop, RFM’s Bremerton HQ is sold

Real Estate Editor

Photo by William P. Wright [enlarge]
The building sat vacant and neglected for 24 years before the architect’s makeover.

A former Sears building, later renovated and occupied by architect Rice Fergus Miller, at 275 Fifth St. in downtown Bremerton , recently changed hands. Kitsap County recorded the $6 million sale last week. The seller was an LLC associated with principals at the firm, which acquired the empty, long-neglected building in 2009 for $412,500.

The buyer was a Kirkland investor. Public records indicate a loan from the seller. The architect hasn't announced plans to move, so will evidently lease back the building.

The architect says that structure had been home to a Sears automotive center, then sat vacant for two dozen years before its acquisition, 15 years ago. Tim Ryan Construction was the builder. The $5 million renovation project achieved LEED Platinum certification. Green features include rooftop solar panels, reflective roofing, heat recovery ventilation and energy-efficient windows.

Marcus & Millichap's Michael Babicz and RJ Vara represented the seller. The deal was worth about $316 per square foot (excluding the parking), a high figure for Bremerton. The sale was part of a 1031 exchange deal, with its associated disposition not announced.

Developed in the early 1940s, the building now has two levels of office space, linked by an open staircase, with about 18,961 square feet. Those floors sit over 22 structured parking stalls. The building is about three blocks north of the ferry terminal.

The project website says the building began life as an underground appliance maintenance facility, located near the main Sears store in Bremerton. (Part of that building was later converted into the 27-unit B Flats apartment project, plus a gastropub, with Rice Fergus Miller as the architect.) Sears later added two levels for auto service.

Decades later, in the early 1980s, Sears moved its operations to Kitsap Mall. It sold that mall property in 2019 before shutting its doors.


Brian Miller can be reached by email at brian.miller@djc.com or by phone at (206) 219-6517.

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