Waterfront will have an upscale feel

EVERETT – A precise model and some demographic studies are providing a much better look at the city’s newest neighborhood and the people who will live there.

Produced by B+B Scale Models Ltd. of Vancouver, B.C., the $80,000 model is intended to be an exact replica of the first phase of the Port Gardner Wharf development, from the colors of the buildings to the trees that line the streets.

“It’s as accurate as we can get it to the point of bay windows and balconies and the level of detail on it,” said Ken Olsen of Maritime Trust, the Chicago developer partnering with the Port of Everett on the $400 million project. “We spent a lot of time worrying about the colors.”

The model, intended as a sales tool, may not be needed all that long.

The first phase of the development includes 159 condos as well as shops, restaurants, offices and a grocery store. Already, people have plunked down deposits to reserve 124 of the units, with 50 signing up as backups, according to Maritime president Bert Mears.

“If someone backs out, they’ll be snapped up right away,” Olsen said.

Mears said the company has bought an advertisement for the project in the Oscar awards edition of People magazine. “It will be interesting to see what we get from that,” he added.

Who are the people already signing up for condos?

The buyers typically are married (78 percent), between the ages of 50 and 59 (46 percent) and now live in Everett (38 percent).

They are mostly in a professional occupation (27 percent), with many working as an executive (17 percent) or running their own business (another 17 percent).

Most earn $150,000 to $200,000 a year (24 percent), although about 20 percent earn even more ($200,000 to $250,000) and another 17 percent earn more than $250,000, according to a study by Williams Marketing Inc.

Other popular communities for buyers include:

  • Marysville, Lake Stevens, 15 percent.

  • Other Washington city, 15 percent.

  • Mukilteo, 8 percent.

  • Mill Creek, 5 percent.

  • Edmonds/Mountlake Terrace, 5 percent.

  • Bellevue area, 4 percent.

  • Seattle, 3 percent.

  • Lynnwood, 2 percent.

    The cost of the condos ranges from around $400,000 to $1 million.

    Earlier this week, the Port of Everett approved a contract with Hoffman Construction for $44 million to install the infrastructure for the development, which will cost $27.4 million; create the new Craftsman District for water-related businesses, which will cost $13.1 million; and spend $3.6 million for early site development.

    Hoffman may subcontract the work, but its contract with the port puts it on the hook to ensure that the agreed-upon figures are the maximum cost. The $27 million for infrastructure will be divided among several different projects, with $9.1 million going to utilities, $8.6 million for roadways, $7.9 million for public access and $1.8 million to clean up contaminated soil.

    The port already has removed some 17 industrial buildings from the site.

    Olsen noted that “a big part” of the development will be to make that area of the waterfront accessible to the public.

    “All of this takes time to build,” he said. “But we’re going to let people in where it’s safe to do so. At the end of the day, all of the dots will be connected around the edge.”

    The port’s Lisa Mandt noted that when the project is done, people will be able to walk along the waterfront from Hewitt Avenue to the Snohomish River.

    Maritime’s Mears said construction on the project should begin in late February.

    The company is getting ready to complete its financing – a $77 million loan commitment – during the next month and will break ground immediately after that, Maritime officials said.

    Completing the first phase is expected to cost $98 million and take two years.

    It’s estimated that the total project, which should be done in 2014, will provide $14.3 million annually in state and local taxes, with about $3 million a year going to the city of Everett and $500,000 going to Snohomish County.

    Port commissioner Don Hopkins said he’s eager for the project to begin.

    “We want to see dirt fly,” he said.

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