Excellence on Main Award

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Belmont Building

Awardee: Kirk Nesbeitt, Marya Sessions, and Enrique Ferreyros

Award: Bricks & Mortar Rehabilitation

Year: 2020

City: Port Townsend

On the nomination for Port Townsend’s National Register district designation, the 1889 Sterming Block was noted for its prime example of High Victorian Italianate architecture in a smaller commercial building thanks to its corbeled frieze, straight cornice and projecting bay windows.

The Belmont Building, as it is now known, was a hard-working saloon up until Prohibition. Next it served as a real estate and insurance office, shoe store, confectionery and tobacco shop. Most recently it’s been home to hotel rooms and a restaurant featuring local seafood and a bar that was a gathering place for locals. It came to exemplify a busy, multi-faceted waterfront property, but lately this Victorian pearl had lost its luster.

The building name letters had fallen off the front façade, a dark entrance made the building appear closed even when it was open to welcome customers, and the brickwork was failing. The renaissance of The Belmont began with its purchase in December 2017 by new owners who began looking for ways to restore it to its former glory.

Owners Kirk Nesbeitt, Marya Sessions, and Enrique Ferreyros found that path forward through private funding and a Port Townsend Main Street HUD Revolving Loan for the front façade. Restoring a Victorian building from the ground up is a huge challenge, with all the headaches and joys you can imagine – from wind blowing through the crumbling brick walls to pulling up old carpet to reveal beautiful hardwood floors. Rehabilitation work included re-pointing the brick exterior, copper roofs on the bay window to replace shingles, rebuilt parapets, roof repair, and extensive woodwork on the windows including saving the rope & pulley system. The crew updated everything from the basement up, including completely refreshed hotel rooms and a beautiful new deck overlooking the waterfront to replace the storm-worn one.

Kirk, Marya, and Enrique rallied their resources and local experts like Studio STL for design work and general contractor G. Little to bring the shine back to The Belmont. Their rehabilitation restored its elegance and style–the historic Belmont is an architectural gem in Port Townsend.