The paint is peeling and the place is empty, but a sign of better days ahead hangs on the outside of the once-impressive waterfront building.
“Everett Yacht Club is on the move,” the banner says.
While these days, the 114-year-old club is largely a cruising group, the move will be to a new home on land.
John Seger, the Everett Yacht Club’s commodore, said Tuesday the group has vacated its former headquarters at 404 14th St., on the water’s edge next to the Port of Everett’s Central Docks. The club is moving from the now-shabby building, once a dining destination and fancy venue for proms and receptions, but it won’t go far.
By early next year, the club expects to be settled in the port’s South Marina area. With a new ground lease and building transfer agreement, the club will renovate what was once the port’s marina office building. At 1720 West Marine View Drive, the new location — complete with crow’s nest — is just east of Anthony’s Woodfire Grill.
The old yacht club, built in about 1967, is destined for demolition, said Lisa Lefeber, Port of Everett CEO and executive director. Plans for the site, part of the port’s Waterfront Place development, call for two new restaurants, one high-end, the other more casual dining facing Boxcar Park, Lefeber said Wednesday. A new tenant has not been announced.
“We’re so excited the yacht club will be at the South Marina,” said Lefeber, adding that upgrades there will include landscaping. A breezeway connects what will be the new clubhouse with port restrooms. The agreement calls for the club to remodel the port’s laundry facilities in the building, and to lease that portion plus the restrooms and showers back to the port, for use by boaters and marina guests.
The public is invited to a groundbreaking ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday outside the club’s new home. Members will share information about the project and their organization.
“This is a big change,” said Seger, who likens yacht club membership to an “instant community” for boaters.
Much more than the club’s address has changed.
“Back in the day, in the 1950s and ’60s, there were 3,000 to 4,000 social members,” Seger said. A 52-year-old Navy veteran who lives in Brier, he and his wife, Deborah, have been members about four years. There are still social members, but not many among the current membership of fewer than 75 people, he said.
“Flag members have boats,” said Seger, the owner a 37-foot aft-cabin cruiser.
The deal is a 30-year ground lease, with two 10-year extensions. It includes transfer of the former office building, which Lefeber said the port designated as surplus. Rent will be $25,000 a year, “with annual escalation and incremental market adjustments,” according to an announcement on the port’s website. Also in the lease will be 150 lineal feet of market-rate moorage near the building.
Seger said renovations, estimated to cost about $650,000, will create a multi-floor, indoor-outdoor space for meetings and other club gatherings. There will be a kitchen and bar, an elevator and access to the port’s adjacent Commodore Plaza.
Unlike their much larger home, the new Everett Yacht Club will not be rented out as an events venue.
The club, Seger said, once operated two restaurants and a bar. “It was the best view in town,” he said. Those restaurants closed in the 1980s, and the port bought the 14th Street building and leased upstairs space back to the yacht club. Anthony’s, Lombardi’s, Scuttlebutt and other dining spots brought a new social life to the Everett waterfront.
“We’re a cruising club,” Seger said. The group, with some 20 to 30 boats, takes scheduled cruises once or twice a month from April to October. A Memorial Day weekend cruise will find them at a marina in Anacortes. Today, a number of members cruise with their children, Seger said.
“Thurston Howell, that’s not us,” he said, referring to TV’s millionaire character on “Gilligan’s Island.”
Looking at vessels in the port’s North Marina, which has slips for yachts up to 70 feet long, it’s clear there’s plenty of money in this area for maritime recreation. “We have members, their first boat is a 50-foot boat,” said Seger, adding that “boat sales are at an all-time high.”
Learning by cruising with experienced boaters is one benefit of membership, he said. Another is reciprocal moorage offered by other yacht clubs in what’s known as the region’s “Grand 14.” The reconfiguration of the port’s E dock in the South Marina will provide 100 feet of moorage available to other yacht clubs, he said.
Founded July 2, 1907, the Everett Yacht Club predates the Port of Everett by more than a decade. The port was created by a public vote on July 13, 1918, to lure maritime business related to World War I.
As the new Waterfront Place Apartments open this month, Lefeber looks forward to residents and new businesses moving to the port.
“We’re not light industrial,” she said of the Waterfront Place area, where the Hotel Indigo, new walkways, a splash fountain and more greet visitors. “It’s exciting, all the foot traffic.”
By next year, plans call for two new eateries, South Fork Bakery and one with Asian cuisine, to open along the promenade, with “huge outdoor seating,” she said. Near the hotel, Lefeber said retail space will include yacht brokerages and a membership business called the Freedom Boat Club, which will allow people to pay a monthly fee for use of a boat.
Once renovated, the new Everett Yacht Club will have space for about 200 members.
“We plan to be there for a long time,” Seger said. “We hope to outgrow that building.”
Julie Muhlstein: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Everett Yacht Club will host a groundbreaking ceremony outside its new building at 1 p.m. Saturday. The building at 1720 West Marine View Drive is in the Port of Everett’s South Marina area, just east of Anthony’s Woodfire Grill. The public is welcome at the event, which will align with COVID-19 safety guidelines. Information: everettyachtclub.com