Whatever happened to...? Work to begin in January on Oyster House rebuild

rboone@theolympian.comDecember 24, 2013 

Demolition continues August 27th at the site of the former Oyster House restaurant at Olympia's Percival Landing,which was gutted by fire July 19th.

STEVE BLOOM — Staff photographer Buy Photo

The long-awaited project to restore the historic Oyster House in downtown Olympia into the restaurant, bar and outdoor patio destination that it once was, is set to begin next month, the owner and contractor said this week.

The waterfront restaurant at Percival Landing was destroyed in a fire over the summer, reducing the building to a shell, followed by fencing that was erected around the exterior of the building on Fourth Avenue and Sylvester Street.

The building was rapidly on its way to becoming an eyesore after it got tagged with graffiti, but now longtime business owner Tom Barrett, 67, says reconstruction is expected to begin next month.

The plan is to try to make the building look like it did, minus some old timber, which you can’t replace, he said.

The fire, which is thought to have started near a dryer used for kitchen towels, destroyed the business in July.

Barrett said he since has been working with his insurance company — and the insurance money has come through — but it takes time.

“It just doesn’t happen overnight,” he said.

Barrett has owned the business for 17 years. Employment at the business rises and falls throughout the year, but during peak season it employs as many as 50 people, he said.

Barrett said the contractor hired to rebuild the restaurant is Bailey General Contractors of Lacey, a longtime contractor in the area.

Owner Greg Bailey said, depending on the winter weather, he expects to finish up in early summer and “have people on the deck enjoying the Oyster House in mid-June.”

Bailey is a busy builder. He also is building the new home for Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches near College Street on Martin Way, and he’s set to begin work on transforming the former state Department of Personnel building in downtown Olympia into the Thurston First Bank Building, which will include a new brew pub called Three Magnets Brewing Co.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com

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