EVERETT — With the fling of 15 shovels, Port of Everett officials broke ground Monday on “restaurant row.”
But it was all ceremony. The bulldozers, which turned off their engines for the event, have already begun preparing the site to construct two new retail buildings just west of the new Waterfront Place Apartments.
The project at Fisherman’s Harbor begins the first phase of the port’s 65-acre Waterfront Place Central mixed-use development that includes restaurants, shops and offices.
Fisherman’s Harbor extends along the inner harbor’s easternmost edge and overlooks the marina and Pacific Rim Plaza at 14th Street.
When completed next May or June, the two new buildings will house a new restaurant, outdoor seating, a new bakery and three marine offices, said the port’s CEO, Lisa Lefeber.
In all, the port expects to add seven or eight mixed-use buildings and generate more than 900 jobs in the next few years, Lefeber said.
“These are the first new retail pads at the port in over 12 years,” Lefeber told Monday’s gathering of some 50 people.
Each of the new buildings will range in size from 5,000 to 9,000 square feet, Lefeber said.
Port commissioner Tom Stiger gestured toward the construction site and said, “Fifty years ago this site behind us was a shipyard serving the commercial fishing fleet.”
Jack Ng, the owner of three restaurants in Snohomish and Island counties, stood on the boardwalk and looked at the site of his future restaurant, Fisherman Jack’s.
Fisherman Jack’s will feature an American-Chinese menu, seafood, dim sum and noodles, said Ng, who began a seafaring career right out of high school, working on fishing boats.
The 4,000-square-foot restaurant will also offer 2,500 square feet of outdoor patio space overlooking the waterfront.
If supply chain issues don’t delay progress, Ng hopes to open the eatery sometime next year. He said a commercial refrigerator he ordered six months ago still hasn’t arrived.
Ng, who runs China City restaurant at 15402 Main St. in Mill Creek, said he scoped out Everett’s waterfront 10 years ago, but the timing wasn’t right.
Now, with the addition of the boardwalk, hotel, waterfront apartments, walkways and fountain, the area has been transformed, Ng said.
“The future is here,” Ng said enthusiastically. “We’ll be able to look back 10 years from now and say, ‘Look at what this place has become.’”
Katherine Hillman also got the chance to check out the space that will become the new location for South Fork Bakery. Hillman, the owner of South Fork Baking Co., currently operates the business out of Diedrich’s Cafe at the Everett Station. When the buildings are completed, the bakery will occupy a 1,300-square-foot space, she said. South Fork will offer coffee, pastries, cakes and other goodies.
Among those hoisting a shovel was Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin. Franklin described the waterfront’s redevelopment as a “shared vision” the port and the city have pursued for decades.
This is the port’s seventh ribbon-cutting this year, CEO Lefeber said. The $57 million cargo terminal opened in January. Developer SeaLevel’s Waterfront Place Apartments opened in May, along with a new fishing pier in Mukilteo.
“We didn’t let a pandemic stop us,” Lefeber said.