EVERETT — Bob and Vicki Temple want to be among the first people to call the Everett waterfront home.
On Wednesday, they witnessed developers, port officials and city leaders dig shovels into a pile of dirt for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the 266-unit Waterfront Place Apartments.
SeaLevel Properties Director John Shaw said a “new era” was coming to the port.
For those gathered, the event served as a visual cue: After two decades of planning and talking and unexpected challenges, the port’s first housing project is becoming a reality.
In fact, construction workers have been working on the 5.44 acre patch of land since mid-September.
“I know many people had doubts we’d ever be here,” said port CEO Lisa Lefeber. “We’re here today. It’s happening.”
SeaLevel Properties, a division of Mercer Island-based American Classic Homes, purchased the property at 1300 West Marine View Drive last year for $7 million. Calgary-based Gracorp is partnering with SeaLevel on the development. The two-building complex will include studio and one-to-three-bedroom units.
The apartments are 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 earlier this fall.
Port officials expect the redevelopment to create 2,100 jobs and generate $8.6 million each year in state and local sales taxes.
It’s a change of direction for a waterfront known more for industry than tourism and public amenities.
“We’re standing in the epicenter of what was Everett’s milltown and industrial core,” said Port Commissioner Glen Bachman. “… It’s now become the hub of revitalization for all of Everett.”
The Temples said they want to nab a one-bedroom apartment at Waterfront Place Apartments. They’ve been talking about downsizing from their Silver Lake house for a couple of years now.
“We just want to have a place that’s beautiful and that we enjoy,” Vicki Temple said.
Bob Temple said he looks forward to waking up to the sea and the mountains every morning. He grew up in a similar setting, he said, at his parents’ house in Richmond Beach.
“Something draws you in,” he said.
Waterfront Place Apartments is set to open in the spring of 2021.