Two guided missile destroyers — the USS John McCain (56) and USS John Paul Jones (53) — sit at their homeport of Naval Station Everett on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Two guided missile destroyers — the USS John McCain (56) and USS John Paul Jones (53) — sit at their homeport of Naval Station Everett on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Italian shipbuilder to have office in Everett before new frigates arrive

So far, Fincantieri is in charge of four of the 12 new Constellation-class frigates to be homeported in Everett.

EVERETT — As Naval Station Everett prepares to homeport 12 brand new frigates over the next decade, the company in charge of constructing and maintaining the ships will have its own space at the Port of Everett.

In the port commission’s March 12 meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a lease with Fincantieri Marine Repair. The lease charges the firm $9,501.60 for a year’s worth of rent.

“This is the first start of hopefully what is a strong economic opportunity for the base,” said the port’s Executive Director Lisa Lefeber in the meeting.

The lease marks the shipbuilder’s first location in the state and represents Naval Station Everett’s continuing growth.

Naval Station Everett declined to comment on the lease through a spokesperson on Tuesday.

In June 2021, the U.S. Navy chose Naval Station Everett to homeport the first 12 Constellation-class guided missile frigates.

Fincantieri, an Italian ship building company, is taking the lead in constructing at least four of the new frigates. The repair group is a division of the company.

The Navy first awarded Fincantieri with construction rights for one frigate in 2020, after a bidding competition among five other global shipbuilders.

Since then, the Navy has awarded the Italian shipbuilders with construction rights to three more frigates. According to Fincantieri, the total contract is worth around $5.5 billion.

Construction on the first frigate, USS Constellation, began in September 2022 and is tentatively scheduled for delivery in Everett by 2027.

While the first ship was initially expected to arrive by September 2026, the delivery date has since been delayed by at least a year.

In January, Fincantieri reported workforce shortages of “several hundred people … across multiple trades and disciplines” at its construction plant in Wisconsin, where Everett’s frigate is being built, according to a report from the Congressional Research Center.

Construction has yet to begin on the three additional frigates — Congress, Chesapeake and Lafayette — that will be homeported in Everett.

Along with the new ships, around 2,900 military personnel and their families will follow. At the same time, around 3,100 personnel currently stationed in Everett will depart for reassignment, according to the Navy’s draft environmental assessment on the arrival of the new frigates.

Snohomish County is also growing its military housing supply. Earlier this month, Congress approved $19 million for 88 new military homes in Smokey Point.

The Port of Everett was designated as a strategic commercial seaport in 2021, joining a list of 17 other seaports across the country. With this designation, the port must maintain readiness to support deployment of armed forces in times of emergency, war or disaster.

Currently, Naval Station Everett homeports seven guided missile destroyers, one guided missile cruiser and two Coast Guard ships. According to the draft environmental assessment, all Navy ships will depart as the new Constellation-class frigates arrive.

Though the lease is only a year long, a lease extension and expansion of the space will be possible later on, said Port spokesperson Kate Anderson.

“Fincantieri Marine Group was limited in what was available as this space was our last vacancy,” Anderson wrote in an email.

With space at the port, Fincantieri Marine Repair can provide vessel maintenance and repair as the base homeports new ships.

“Fincantieri is a natural fit to provide sustainment services for the Constellation-class frigates,” said Shawn Johnston, the company’s vice president of growth, in a statement.

The maintenance group will have an office space in the Port’s Marina Village at Waterfront Place.

Jenelle Baumbach: 360-352-8623; jenelle.baumbach@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jenelleclar.

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