North marina developer selected

  • MIKE BENBOW / Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, October 24, 2000 9:00pm
  • Local News

By MIKE BENBOW

Herald Writer

Port of Everett director John Mohr was beaming Tuesday at the prospect that the city’s waterfront will become a lot more people friendly.

"I’m definitely stoked up," he said.

What had Mohr so happy was a decision by the port’s three commissioners to hire a team led by Maritime Trust Company Inc., a Connecticut firm, to lead what could be a five-year, $100 million redevelopment of the north marina area.

For years, people have complained to Mohr and everyone else at the port about a lack of public access to the water. What the port would like Maritime to do is to change all that, hopefully with a significant amount of private money.

"What we want to do is to put in a commercially viable development that will then fund these public amenities and also provide the port with a reasonable return on the development of the property," Mohr said.

Commissioners selected the Maritime team from three finalists. A team led by Trammel Crow Co. was second and another by Heartland was third.

The next step will be for the Maritime group to develop a detailed plan for the area in consultation with the port and the community.

But in the group’s presentation of what’s possible, it called for a major expansion of the existing conference center, commercial shops, restaurants, possibly another hotel, a maritime history museum, a waterfront promenade and a park for public events.

Planner Dennis Derickson, former Everett planning director and a member of the Maritime team, said space for public events is crucial.

"Everett really needs a wonderful gathering place," he said. "It just cries out for that. We need a larger scope facility for the community to just celebrate life here."

Seattle architect Michael Weinstein, also part of the Maritime group, said the waterfront needs to come alive at night as well as during the day, noting that including housing in the project might help achieve that.

Maritime chairman Robert Meers said he expects the port will find private investment for the right project.

"You can attract an enormous amount of capital spending here because people will want to pay for those views," he said. "They will pay the price. That cries out to me as a developer."

Maritime team members have worked on a host of national and regional projects, including redevelopment of the Chicago and Baltimore waterfronts and work in Bellingham, Grays Harbor, Bellevue and Seattle.

Meers said his company also has access to money from such institutional investors as pension funds.

Port commissioner Jim Shaffer, who nominated Maritime as the top pick, called the group "a first-class outfit."

Commissioner Don Hopkins agreed, noting the company had done a great job in redeveloping a dilapidated area along Chicago’s waterfront.

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