Port seeks housing developer for Waterfront Place

EVERETT — The Port of Everett is looking for a housing developer to take on the first phase of its ambitious plan to turn its largely vacant central pier into a hip, urban waterfront.

The port’s Waterfront Place Central project plans to redevelop the roughly 65-acre site in four phases over the next seven to 10 years, potentially with different developers for each phase. The project envisions transforming the pier between the North and Central Marinas into a mixed-use development with 660 condominiums and apartments, two waterfront hotels and at least 10 restaurants.

Port of Everett officials hope to have a developer for the first 204 residential units by the end of the year, with buildings going up in 2016 and 2017.

That first phase of development will be on 5.5 acres near West Marine View Drive and 14th Street. It is part of what the port calls its Fisherman’s Harbor district, a nod to commercial fishing vessels that dock there.

The port also wants to see a 120-room hotel, five commercial buildings and retail space in the district, according to the port’s bid documents released Friday. The area will be ringed by a 15-foot path and pedestrians will be able to walk on the adjacent dock.

Earlier this year, the port awarded design and marketing contracts for the project.

Market demand for apartments in Everett is high, according to a housing study completed in January for the port by Brian O’Connor, a real estate market analyst and owner of Seattle-based O’Connor Consulting Group.

“It is not often that an opportunity to develop waterfront property with the amenity of a marina presents itself. This development has a significant upside,” O’Connor said in a prepared statement.

Work also has started on some of the trails, parks and other public space that will ring the site.

The port expects private developers to kick in about $330 million to build Waterfront Place. It plans to spend $33 million adding and improving things such as roads, sidewalks and parks.

The project is the port’s second attempt at developing the area. The first effort — the Port Gardner Wharf project — started in 2000, and was heavily focused on housing. The port planned to work with a single developer. That plan died after the private developer went bankrupt in May 2009.

The Port of Everett substantially revised its plans last year as the rebranded Waterfront Place project.

Unlike the previous effort, it includes much more retail and commercial space. The goal this time, port officials say, is to create jobs, not just housing.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dcatchpole.

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