EVERETT — Everett’s Port Gardner has been of economic significance to the region since the late 1800s. In 1918, a governing body known as the Port of Everett was established to oversee port activities.
Today, the Port of Everett still makes the vital decisions regarding operations in and around Port Gardner as well as in the public marina and the more than 6,000 acres of property near the Everett waterfront.
The size and location of the port are significant. It is the closest shipping port to both Alaska and the Far East and it is the first Western terminus reached by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway.
As the third-largest container facility in Washington state, the Port of Everett also generates a significant number of jobs and revenue for Snohomish County.
“The Port of Everett supports more than 31,000 jobs in this community through our three lines of business — international shipping terminals, marinas and real estate developments,” Port of Everett Executive Director John Mohr said. “Most of the jobs are generated from the shipping terminals, and are tied to the aerospace industry.”
He also pointed to the significant tax revenue that the port generates. Up to $247 million in revenue is generated to support functions at the state and local level.
It is the Port of Everett that has been responsible for several local improvement projects over the last five years. Nearly five miles of trails have been revamped along the Everett waterfront. The Mount Baker Terminal, designed to serve the aerospace industry, was constructed and a new 220-slip marina was built.
More recently, however, all eyes have been focused on the Port of Everett over two other projects. Last summer, the Port finally came to a decision as to the fate of the Collins Building. Despite objections from local historical groups, the 75-year-old wooden structure was razed and its component parts salvaged for resale.
According to Mohr, proceeds from the sale of Collins Building’s salvaged materials will go to support the redevelopment of the historic Weyerhaeuser Building. The Weyerhaeuser Building still remains empty, although Mohr has said that plans are in the works to open the facility for public events.
The second high-profile issue was related to a planned $400 million redevelopment of the north marina area. The project with Chicago developer Maritime Trust would have included 660 luxury condominiums, commercial office space, restaurants and other businesses.
However, Maritime Trust filed for bankruptcy on the project and the port ultimately terminated its contract with the firm. This has given the Port of Everett some time to rethink plans for that area.
What seemed like sound development strategy in a hot real estate market makes less sense in the current economic climate. It is possible that the number of condominiums may ultimately be reduced. However the mixed-use concept is not being entirely abandoned.
“The setback in our Port Gardner Wharf project has created an exciting opportunity to re-examine the planned use of the port’s 65-acre property,” Mohr said. “We do know that a mixed use of some kind is a necessity on that site to support our large boating population.”
While the Maritime Trust deal may have fallen through, some redevelopment of the north marina has already gone ahead. The former Marine Spill Response Corp. warehouse has undergone an approximately $9 million conversion to become a center for marine-related businesses. It is anticipated that the rent for various parts of the new center will offer overall savings for the port.
This new north marina space now also houses the new port administration office. Staff began the move to their new quarters in early December.
What’s in the future for the Port of Everett? Projects that will be completed in 2011 include the construction of a rail recovery line and marine terminals and the continuation of marina dredging activities.
“In addition, the Port of Everett is a key player in the state’s Puget Sound Initiative program, which is an effort to clean up the Puget Sound by 2020,” Mohr said. “As a result, we have a significant amount of resources invested in cleaning up contaminated soil on port properties.”
Mohr touted the initiative’s benefit to the environment and the community, but it did put a significant dent into the port’s financial resources.
Like other public agencies, the Port of Everett has recently been struggling with declining revenues. This leaves fewer funds at its disposal yet an ever-increasing list of issues and projects that need to be addressed.
Fortunately, Mohr said, shipping terminals are doing well. As the economy picks up, other revenue sources may rebound. In the meantime, the Port of Everett carries on.
Edmonds Yacht Club
The Edmonds Yacht Club completed the construction of a new waterfront building this year. The clubhouse is available to the public for rent. Yacht club membership is not required to rent the clubhouse space.
Amenities: The clubhouse can accommodate business events, special occasions or weddings with a capacity for 288 seated guests. It features an outdoor patio, marina and waterfront access, professional kitchen and bar areas, and free parking. It’s ADA compliant and off-site catering is allowed.
Largest meeting room: 5,400 square feet
Total meeting space: 5,400 square feet
Address: 326 Admiral Way, Suite 100, Edmonds
More info: 425-778-5499 or www.EdmondsYachtClub.com