By Mike Benbow Herald Writer
EVERETT — Construction workers are slowly turning a former warehouse at the Port of Everett into a center for marine-related businesses and a new port administration building.
The $8.5 million project, expected to be done by the end of November, will convert the former Marine Spill Response Corp. facility into a two-story structure with 69,000 square feet of space.
“It was a pretty bland looking tilt-up building,” said the port’s Larry Crawford. “The architects have done a great job in taking an industrial warehouse and converting it into a functional building.”
Crawford noted that designers have “spiffed up” the old warehouse by adding a mezzanine between the existing building and the port administration building to be added on one end.
In addition to the mezzanine, the building includes design touches intended to provide a transition between the port’s new boatyard and the redevelopment of the rest of the area with condominiums and office buildings.
For example, the lobby includes polished floors of a concrete/glass product and galvanized steel columns. The ceilings will include open supports and ducts.
“They mimic the pilings in our marina,” Crawford said of the columns. “The floats are held together with galvanized pilings.”
The building, designed by 2812 Architecture, also includes some energy-efficient touches.
The administration building’s water will be preheated with solar panels on the roof. “We’re trying to be very functional and I think we met that goal,” Crawford said.
The new building is intended to put all the port’s marine businesses in one area and to bring port workers currently in four different buildings together under one roof.
In December, the port expects to start moving to the waterfront, leaving the building on Bond Street near the railroad station. “We’re scattered over a whole lot of offices right now,” he said.
Crawford said workers from Bond Street, from the south marina office, from the port’s marine terminals and from the port’s conference center will all move to the building eventually.
The new administration building will cost about $3 million. The entire project will be about $9 million.
The port sold its old building for $2.5 million and expects to save about $117,000 a year by renting the marina office, renting a portion of the new port center and saving on a variety of communications and computer equipment at its four locations.
It will also include a 3,000-square-foot space that can be used for community events. And the port is also looking for a restaurant to add to the building.
“From an economic standpoint, it just made sense for us,” Crawford said of the new location. “It will get everybody back together in one place.”
The new administration building was intended to be part of a $400 million redevelopment of the north marina area that would have included 660 luxury condominiums. The development has been stalled because Maritime Trust, the port’s development partner, was unable to secure financing and is now in bankruptcy.
Crawford said it still makes sense for the port to be at the new location. “The north marina project has been stalled, but it will take off again,” he said.
Crawford said completing the building in the fall will be good timing for the prospective business tenants. “They don’t like to move in the summer or early fall,” he said.