Work moves ahead on Everett waterfront

The Port of Everett’s partner for a $400 million redevelopment filed for bankruptcy protection last year, shutting down construction plans for the first of some 660 waterfront condominiums.

But that doesn’t mean work on the project has come to a standstill.

While the condos remain in doubt, many aspects of the project are still humming right along, including:

· Continued cleanup of the toxic materials on the waterfront. Some $8.5 million has been spent to date.

· An $8.4 million remodel and addition to a building that had housed equipment for oil spills. It will be turned into a new port administration building and a center for boat-related businesses in what’s called the Craftsman District.

· The addition of new roadways and utilities. Much of the $7.2 million project is complete.

· Installation of a 12-foot-wide pedestrian and bicycle path on W. Marine View Drive that will provide more than three miles of public trails along the waterfront.

Larry Crawford, the port’s chief of properties and development, said the port has continued to work on what it believes it needs to do no matter what happens to its development partnership with Maritime Trust of Chicago.

The waterfront “needed to be cleaned up regardless of what was going to happen here,” he said. “This was the first cleanup of all these industrial uses here for years. It was like any other industrial site, where the environment wasn’t a priority.”

The port began the work in 2001, removing some 85,000 tons of contaminated soil to date from 34 acres of waterfront. Begun as a voluntary effort, the project is now part of the state’s Puget Sound Initiative cleanup effort. So far the state has reimbursed the port for $3.3 million spent on the effort.

Work will continue in several locations in 2011 and 2012 and could extend into 2017, when options in one industrial site will expire.

Crawford said it’s also important for the port to complete the Craftsman District building so that the area’s companies can be consolidated in one location and their old sites can be cleaned up.

“We’ve got to get this building remodeled so we can move our tenants over there and get their old sites cleaned up,” Crawford said.

The building is expected to be completed by the end of the year, including the addition of the new port administration building.

The port building will help the agency move employees who are currently working in four locations into one and should be economical at a cost of about $2.9 million, Crawford said.

He noted that the port has already sold its building on Bond Street for $2.5 million and will be able to lease part of its new building. For example, the building will have a multipurpose room that could be leased when not in use, he added.

He said another part of the new building would be ideal for a restaurant or a similar tenant.

In addition to providing the roads and utilities needed for the area, the port has also added some temporary walkways to link the more permanent pedestrian areas along the waterfront.

Crawford said the project area is loaded with public access that is not well known.

“There is access to the entire waterfront now,” he said.

He noted that a new walkway along W. Marine View Drive should be complete within a couple weeks from 10th Street to near Scuttlebutts brew pub. He said the city plans to eventually extend it north to Alverson Bridge.

Exactly what will happen to the condo project is unknown.

Maritime Trust President Bert Meers said after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last May and that he hoped to emerge from it and continue the project.

The company has about 50 creditors and $22 million in debt. It also still must find financing for the project.

Everett Maritime still owes the port about $877,000 to compensate it for lease payments it didn’t receive because it cleared much of its property for the development.

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