Puget Sound Naval Shipyard at Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, Wash.

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard at Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, Wash. (U.S. Navy )

The Navy reported Tuesday that it had received a strong response from property owners in the Seattle-Tacoma area interested in leasing space to the military during a decadelong overhaul of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard at Naval Base Kitsap.

The Navy issued a “request for interest” in October -- an initial step that the service likened to marketing research – asking property owners within a 40-mile range of the naval base whether they would be willing to lease space to them for up to 10 years.

About 80 responses were received by Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Northwest Real Estate Division, according to Sarah Lincoln, a Navy public affairs officer.

The Puget Sound project is part of the Navy’s Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program -- a $21 billion rebuilding and modernization of the service’s four shipyards at Bremerton, Wash., Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Kittery, Maine, and Norfolk, Va.

The proposed designs for the four shipyards are scheduled to be presented to Congress in the fiscal 2025 defense budget.

The plans for the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard are expected to include a new drydock designed to hold Ford-class, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and Viriginia-class, nuclear-powered attack submarines now replacing older ships in the fleet.

The work is expected to require the temporary or permanent relocation of operations at the shipyard and Kitsap for up to a decade. The “request for interest” helped the Navy gauge whether it could find enough space and structures to use during the project.

Lincoln said the responses would be reviewed and if the Navy decides to move ahead with a plan for specific needs and locations, it would be presented as a “request for proposal” on the federal contracting website.

No timeline for the next step in pursuing leases has been set, she said.

The Navy has operated a shipyard at Bremerton since 1891 and is now looking to build what Navy spokeswoman Adrienne Burns called “the shipyard of the future.”

Naval Base Kitsap was created in 2004 by consolidating the submarine base at Bangor with the shipyard and surface fleet base in Bremerton.

Covering 12,000 acres on the Kitsap Peninsula between Seattle and the Pacific Ocean, the base is home to 15,000 active-duty personnel, making it the third largest Navy base in the world.

The Puget Sound Naval Shipyard is the Navy’s primary location in the Pacific for maintenance, repair, and modernization of carriers. It already has the only dry dock on the West Coast that can accommodate the nine Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers that are the mainstay of the fleet.

The shipyard is frequently the last stop for ships departing the fleet. The Puget Sound facility can deactivate and recycle a wide variety of ships. It’s the Navy’s only shipyard that is approved to dismantle and recycle nuclear-powered submarines.

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Gary Warner covers the Pacific Northwest for Stars and Stripes. He’s reported from East Germany, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France and across the U.S. He has a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.

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