The view from the rooftop club room in the the north building of the Waterfront Place Apartments in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

The view from the rooftop club room in the the north building of the Waterfront Place Apartments in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Now playing at the Port of Everett: sudden density

New Waterfront Place Apartments open May 15 at the port — local retailers welcome the influx.

EVERETT — From John Shaw’s first visit to a Port of Everett property that would become Waterfront Place Apartments to the completion of the first of two buildings this spring, the SeaLevel Properties director has had three children.

In that same span, Kyle Weeks, in charge of multifamily projects at SeaLevel, married and became the father of two.

It’s been a long haul, with setbacks, said Shaw, most notably the fiery destruction last summer of the south building’s foundation and frame, a more than $25 million loss, according to Everett fire officials estimates.

The north building, which was completed this spring, becomes the port’s first waterfront residence. Tenants can begin moving in on May 15, Shaw said.

Fully leased, the 135-unit building could house more than 200 people, SeaLevel estimates. More are expected to settle in when the south building, which is now being built, opens with 131 apartments next year.

The sudden density at the port could have a far-reaching impact on the city’s merchant and restauranteurs who hope the influx will give their shops a healthy shot-in-the arm.

“Anything that brings more people here — that’s good for business,” said Maki Perry, who’s tracked the waterfront’s progress since opening Body & Brain Yoga-Taichi in downtown Everett at 1319 Hewitt nine years ago.

The Waterfront Place Apartments north building. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

The Waterfront Place Apartments north building. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

The apartment complex is part of the port’s 65-acre Waterfront Place Central redevelopment project that includes shops, restaurants, walking trails and the 142-room Hotel Indigo, which opened in 2019.

“We know retail follows rooftops, so adding this residential component is really a key piece of the overall vision for Waterfront Place,” port spokeswoman Catherine Soper said. “This new density…creates an attractive business opportunity for new retailers and restaurants.”

When completed the entire 266-unit complex could house 300 to 400 people and their pets — all in need of places to eat, shop and browse.

“Bringing residents to a revitalized Everett waterfront has been a long time coming for the port and city of Everett,” Shaw said. “We’re excited to see our first residential building opening and new residents moving in.”

The port district is a short walk north from Everett’s new Grand Avenue Park pedestrian bridge, which links the bluff’s residential neighborhood to the city’s waterfront.

Diane Symms, CEO of Lombardi’s Italian Restaurants said the firm opened a restaurant at the port in 1998, knowing there was going to be “some kind of development in the area.”

Lombardi’s operates restaurants in Bellingham, Bothell near Mill Creek and in Everett at the port. Anticipating an uptick in business, Lombardi’s is expanding its patio overlooking the waterfront to offer more outdoor dining space, Symms said. “This is exciting for the city and for the waterfront,” she said of the apartment complex. “It’s going to bring more activities and more people down here,” Symms said. “It just grows exponentially.”

The Waterfront Apartments’ debut is also a much-anticipated event for downtown’s proprietors.

The Waterfront Place, which has 135 apartments, is being shown and leased at its Port of Everett location. Residents of the north building (left) could begin moving in by May 15. The south building (right), which burned down in 2020, is being rebuilt and will open next year with another 131 apartments. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

The Waterfront Place, which has 135 apartments, is being shown and leased at its Port of Everett location. Residents of the north building (left) could begin moving in by May 15. The south building (right), which burned down in 2020, is being rebuilt and will open next year with another 131 apartments. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

When Sharon Sanford and her sister Sue Nemo purchased Renee’s Contemporary Clothing, a women’s boutique at 2820 Colby Avenue in downtown Everett a few years ago, the pair were mindful of the planned waterfront apartments, Sanford said. “Now, we’re hoping they’ll come by,” she said.

Rachel Recker recently added six new pottery wheels, doubling capacity at her new business, Salish Sea Ceramics Studio. Now, Recker hopes the new waterfront residents will find their way to her studio at 1111 Hewitt and sign up for classes. As a resident of the city’s downtown, Recker hopes the influx will also prompt development of a downtown or waterfront supermarket.

“If they put a Trader Joe’s down here, people would flock to it,” Recker said.

Nearly a year after the massive blaze, Shaw with SeaLevel continues to praise the Everett Fire Department along with the Shoreline, Bothell, Northshore, Woodinville and Arlington fire departments that responded to the four-alarm fire. Two firefighters suffered minor burns.

“The fire departments saved the building,” Shaw said. “There was material on that building that was seconds away from going up had they not put water on it.”

Investigators sifted through the rubble and concluded the fire was not the result of criminal activity. Still, the incident temporarily halted construction of the north building, untouched by fire, for several months and pushed back delivery of the south building by more than a year. It’s now targeted to open in fall 2022.

SeaLevel, a division of Mercer Island-based American Classic Homes, purchased the 5.4 acre parcel at 1300 West Marine View Drive in 2018 for $7 million after eyeing the property for some four years, Shaw said.

A year later, in 2019, SeaLevel and partner Gracorp, a Calgary-based builder, broke ground on the two-building, four-story development, which includes studio and one-to-three-bedroom units.

The north building pays homage to the region’s timber and industrial heritage with corrugated metal and steel features, and interior artwork to reflect that theme. The south building, which will include sun-lightened woods and steel trellises resembling crab traps, highlights the maritime and boating industry, Shaw said.

One of the many single-bedroom designs, this one with a desk area, is seen in the Waterfront Place Apartments in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

One of the many single-bedroom designs, this one with a desk area, is seen in the Waterfront Place Apartments in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

“The opening of the Waterfront Place Apartments marks a historic milestone for our waterfront and community, kicking off a new era at the Port of Everett waterfront,” said Lisa Lefeber, Port of Everett CEO. The “project brings housing to the waterfront for the first time in Everett’s history and compliments the Port’s overall vision of a balanced, vibrant and livable waterfront,” Lefeber said.

Monthly rents for the new north building units range from about $1,400 for one-bedrooms to $4,500 for two-bedroom units. Residents have access to a fitness center, kitchen and meeting space, outdoor terraces and a second-floor bar and game room. The pet-friendly building also features a dedicated dog-washing room with waist-high tubs.

Parking, including covered parking and individual garages for rent on the building’s first floor, are extra, Weeks said. In all, there is parking for 198 vehicles.

The fire’s aftermath was overwhelming, said Shaw, but there was no thought of abandoning the two-building plan.

“There was never a question. We were going to rebuild,” Shaw said.

When fully built-out, the Waterfront Place district is expected to encompass 63,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, nearly a half-million square feet of office, plus trails and walkways and some 400 waterfront residences — in addition to the 266-units at the Waterfront Place Apartments, port officials have said.

The district’s growing residential density could prove a selling point for the port, which hopes to market the former Everett Yacht Club property at the west end of Waterfront Place — and other port properties — to prospective developers.

The Yacht Club recently agreed to vacate the clubhouse and moorage dock it built 50 years ago on property it leases from the port. The old waterfront clubhouse will be demolished next year. Port officials plan to market the site as potential waterfront restaurant.

The 114-year-old club will relocate to the former Port of Everett Marina office building at the South Marina, where it plans a $1 million renovation that will create indoor and outdoor space for member gatherings and a kitchen and bar. The project is expected to be completed in 2022.

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

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