Port of Everett prepares new waterfront redevelopment plan

EVERETT — What happened to the Port of Everett’s plan to turn land around 13th and 14th streets into a gleaming gem of urban renewal?

After a very bumpy road that stretches back to 2000, port officials are putting the final touches on a revised plan for the 65-acre waterfront site that will focus on creating jobs and opening the waterfront to the public. The plan is expected to be submitted to Everett city staff for review by July.

Upscale housing was the focus of a previous plan called the Port Gardner Wharf project. It, too, included commercial, retail and public open space.

“If we were going to build the Port Gardner Wharf, we could start today. But that was a gentrified version of the port,” said Terrie Battuello, the port’s chief of business development. “How many Pottery Barns do you need to go to on the weekend? You want go to a place that’s authentic.”

This time, the renamed Waterfront Place project will tap into the area’s maritime legacy, rather than pave it over, to create that authenticity. The goals have shifted from cashing in on a hot housing market to creating jobs, supporting boating and opening the waterfront to residents and visitors — part of the Port of Everett’s mission. Housing — mostly apartments and condos — is still part of the project but primarily to help pay for the rest of the work.

According to projections by Economic Alliance Snohomish County, the site could support between 1,550 and 2,250 new jobs. That includes 277 jobs that have already come to the site thanks to early improvements related to the project and already finished, such as Waterfront Center, a mixed-use building adjacent to the development area.

Trails, parks and other public spaces will make up about one-third of the land. That includes a two-acre park at the end of the pier and an esplanade for walkers, joggers and bikers encircling the site.

Officials are reconfiguring — rather than rewriting — the original plan. For example, the previous plan put housing at the center of the site. Now, port officials are considering putting more shops and less housing there. They also have reduced the space dedicated to commercial and retail uses and increased room for marine sales and services and a hotel.

The changes they are making will have to be cleared with city staff, and the larger plan alterations will go through a public review process and require the Everett City Council’s approval, said Allan Giffen, Everett’s planning and community development director.

Port officials aren’t trying to change things such as building heights and density. That would require a new and lengthy environmental review.

The plans which will be submitted to the city this summer will give a general outline of the work and specify some capital projects. Many details can’t be nailed down until later in the process, in part because they depend on input from private developers the port plans to partner with.

That is partially by necessity and partially by design.

The port wants the plan to be as flexible as possible so it can respond to market conditions, said Lisa Lefeber, a spokeswoman for the port.

Also, many specifics depend on input from the developers, Battuello said.

At this point, port officials can only say that between 340 and 660 housing units — apartments and condos — will be built.

One big variable affecting that number is parking. Garages take up less space than parking lots. The previous plan focused heavily on underground parking, but this time, the port is leaving both options on the table.

Port officials hope to start shopping for development partners later this year and to begin construction in 2015. That will be eight years after ground was broken on the Port Gardner Wharf project.

Work on the Waterfront Place project would proceed in four phases — each lasting between 15 and 24 months — over a total of seven to 10 years.

With so many details to be decided, there is no estimate for the total project cost. Port officials had estimated the Port Gardner Wharf plan would cost about $400 million.

Under the new project, the port will spend about $33 million on parks, trails, upgraded utilities and other improvements.

It has already spent about $83 million on various capital projects connected to the work, such as the Waterfront Center, environmental cleanup, a marina for bigger boats and a commercial area for marine businesses called the Craftsman District.

In the latest plans, the first phase will cover the site’s east side, adjacent to West Marine View Drive. Its main uses will be for retail and hospitality businesses. There will be some housing. It will be “the heart and soul of the project,” Battuello said.

The second phase will be to the west, at the site’s commercial center, which will include a transit stop.

The third phase will be to the west on the pier and will involve mostly housing.

The final section will cover the end of the pier, which juts out into the East Waterway. It will feature a two-acre waterfront park, a hotel and a high-end restaurant, she said.

The port will pick a private developer for each phase. That is different from the Port Gardner Wharf project, when the port tapped Everett Maritime, a subsidiary of a Chicago-based company, to be the master developer. The project stalled when Everett Maritime’s financing fell apart amidst the Great Recession. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009.

This time, the port is keeping the role of master developer for itself.

Partnering with developers makes sense because they know “how to build projects better than the port,” Battuello said. But “the port wants to stay in the driver’s seat so the public gets the development it’s promised. If you turn it over to a private developer, you lose that control.”

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

Port plan timeline

October 2000: The Port of Everett partners with the Maritime Trust Co. for a multimillion-dollar redevelopment of the North Marina area.

August 2002: The Everett Planning Commission is besieged by neighbors concerned about the project’s potential effect on views.

September 2006: The port approves a financial agreement with Maritime Trust, clearing the way to start on the first phase.

May 2007: The port and Maritime Trust break ground, promising “the finest development on Puget Sound.” Maritime reports 135 reservations for condos.

June 2007: Construction is delayed after a major financial backer pulls out.

May 2009: Everett Maritime, a subsidiary of Maritime Trust, files for bankruptcy protection.

September 2010: Port terminates contract with Maritime Trust and scraps the project.

June 2011: Port auctions off furniture from a model condo and other remnants of the Port Gardner Wharf project, including a golden shovel used at ground-breaking.

October 2011: Boaters, residents and business people provide recommendations on a new plan for the land.

February 2012: The port asks the public for feedback to help a planning team determine how to improve the Marina District Master Plan, which includes the land for the failed Port Gardner Wharf project.

June 2012: The port adopts a new development strategy for the project — eventually rebranding it the Waterfront Place project — that focuses more on jobs, boating and public access.

2013 to Spring 2014: Port staff flesh out the strategy and begin drafting development plans.

July 2014: The port expects to submit final development plans to Everett city staff for review.

2015: Target date for starting construction on the first phase.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

David Simpson (left) and Scott Murphy.
Port of Everett candidates spar over transparency

An incumbent, David Simpson, is challenged by Everett City Councilmember Scott Murphy.

Rendering of the new terminal that Propeller Airports plans to build at Paine Field in Everett. The terminal, which will serve the general aviation community, will replace Castle & Cooke Aviation's existing building at the Snohomish County-owned airport. (Propeller Airports LLC)
Propeller Airports to acquire Castle & Cooke at Paine Field

Propeller, which owns the nearby passenger terminal, plans a new complex for private aviation.

Everett Farmer’s Market canceled Sunday due to weather

Organizers cited a high-wind advisory. It is to reopen Oct. 31 for the final market of the season.

FILE - In this May 26, 2020, file photo, a sign at the headquarters for the Washington state Employment Security Department is shown at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Washington state's rush to get unemployment benefits to residents who lost jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak left it vulnerable to criminals who made off with hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent claims. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Washington’s unemployment rate in September was 4.9%

Employers added 17,600 jobs last month, a 7.3% increase over August.

With the Olympic mountains in the background, the first passenger flight by Alaska Airlines Flight 2878 departs for Portland on opening day of the Paine Field Terminal on Monday, March 4, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Alaska Airlines stalls plan for extra flights in Everett

Business has been sluggish, but the airline says it will offer 12 flights a day at Paine Field in the new year.

Hillside homes in Mukilteo are seen from the ferry line on Oct. 20. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)
Mukilteo asks for input on housing density, and it’s complicated

Here’s a guide to what voters should know about the advisory ballot measure. What does it actually do?

People hold signs in protest of the vaccine mandate after Boeing announced it would terminate workers who do not comply on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Some Boeing workers protest in Everett over vaccine mandate

The Boeing Company announced earlier this week that its workers must be vaccinated by Dec. 8.

FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, March 11, 2019, rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The number of deaths in major air crashes around the globe fell by more than half in 2019 according to a report released Wednesday Jan. 1, 2020, by the aviation consultancy To70, revealing the worst crash for the year was an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX on March 10 that lost 157 lives. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene, FILE)
Former Boeing test pilot pleads not guilty in 737 Max case

He’s the first person to be charged with a crime in connection with the Indonesia and Ethiopia crashes.

FILE - In this March 14, 2019 file photo, Ethiopian relatives of crash victims mourn at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff killing all 157 on board, near Bishoftu, south-east of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia. Relatives of some of the passengers who died in the crash will mark the two-year anniversary of the disaster on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, by seeking a reversal of government orders that let Boeing 737 Max jets fly again.  (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene, File)
Boeing pilot involved in Max testing is indicted in Texas

He’s accused of giving the FAA false information about systems that played a role in two deadly crashes.

Top (L-R): Kim Daughtry, Steve Ewing. Bottom (L-R): Gary Petershagen, Marcus Tageant.
Developers court Lake Stevens council incumbents with over $20K

Over half of the campaign dollars for four candidates came from people tied to real estate or property development.

Traffic drives in view of a massive Boeing Co. production plant, where images of jets decorate the hangar doors, Friday, April 23, 2021, in Everett, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Boeing says workers must get the COVID vaccine by Dec. 8

“Compliance with these requirements is a condition of employment,” says an internal company presentation.

The Boeing 737 Max 10 airplane landing at Boeing Field in Seattle on June 18. (Chona Kasinger / Bloomberg)
Boeing ramps up 737 Max but 787 deliveries are still blocked

Boeing last month maintained its steady trickle of sales as it navigates the aviation downturn.