Real estate brokers hope to pump life into downtown core

Paul Elkins and Jean-Louis Gazabat relaunch business on Harborview Drive

Staff writerJune 11, 2014 

Gig Harbor Real Estate EG owners Jean-Louis Gazabat, left, and Paul Elkins recently relaunched their Harborview Drive business in Gig Harbor’s historic downtown core.

LEE GILES III/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Real estate brokers Paul Elkins and Jean-Louis Gazabat didn’t need a new office in downtown Gig Harbor — but the experienced real estate pair had acquired some property and wanted to invest in the downtown core of the community. So they went to work completely gutting, renovating and remodeling the property at 3022 Harborview Drive.

The duo moved into their new digs recently, throwing a grand opening party last Friday.

“We decided if we put in extra money, we might be able to rebuild the downtown core,” Gazabat said. “If others saw that we were able to put money into enhancing the downtown, others would follow. We have a quite a bit of extra money into making it look as nice as it does.”

The building is a 1950s-era cinder block construction, and was in poor condition upon purchase. Now, the interior and exterior have been redone, the electronics have been updated and there’s a new awning outside.

“The biggest challenge was the structure,” Elkins said. “We did everything but tear the whole thing down.”

Elkins said the city was extremely helpful with the permitting process and communicating its needs and requirements.

“The city was absolutely wonderful,” Elkins said. “(The process) was smooth as silk.”

The two have been in business together in various property management capacities since 1992, and opened a real estate business together in 2008. With their move came a name relaunch: Gig Harbor Real Estate EG. The pair look at the growth in Uptown and other areas, and desire something similar for Gig Harbor’s historic downtown area.

“Let’s make it user friendly, have people walking around again on the weekends. Make it vital and fun again,” Gazabath said. “Let’s bring some life to it.”

The company employs 13 people, and is always open to hiring more agents, should the fit be right. It kicked off its opening in style on Friday, with food catered by Chapel Hill Presbyterian. Elkins estimated 300 to 400 people attended the party, popping in and out at various points of the evening.

“It was beyond our expectations,” Elkins said.

The company wants to be woven into the fabric of Gig Harbor, as evidenced by the pair’s passion for the downtown core and desire to pump some life into the economy.

“We want to build the strongest independent company in the harbor,” Gazabat said.

Elkins encouraged people to drop in and say hello, and even if they don’t have any business, stop by and use the complimentary Wi-Fi.

“We want everybody to come and visit us,” Elkins said. “This is our deal, we’re here for fun, we enjoy it. We wants lots of life and activity.”

Jon Manley: 253-358-4151 jon.manley@gateline.com Twitter: @gateway_jon

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