By Tom Hoban, July 3, 2014, Everett Herald Business Journal
Since the economic downturn put the Port of Everett’s waterfront condominium project on ice, the Port has been busy making plans for version 2.0 with adjustments made to fit today’s market realities.
Dubbed Waterfront Place, the new plan gives the waterfront back to the community.
Unlike the previous development that was designed like a private residential community with some retail and pocket parks, this plan creates a high-quality community asset focused on jobs, recreation, public gathering spaces and boating.
Another major difference is the Port will be the master developer and seek multiple partnerships to realize the development.
The project pulls the development to the center of the site, and opens up the shoreline for a walking and biking trail, vistas, two parks totaling approximately 3 acres, and many more public features.
The public gathering places are supported by a large, vibrant marina and will include an appealing mix of housing options supported by retail, office, restaurants and two hotels.
A new plaza links to a walking trail that rims the peninsula and connects to existing development, creating a legitimate destination.
The project will be delivered in four phases with the first phase starting in early 2016.
Full build out of the nearly $350 million private investment is expected in seven to 10 years, according to Terrie Battuello, the Port’s new business development chief.
“Developers have shown a lot of interest already. We think the market is right and the community is ready.”
Battuello is an experienced developer of public properties.
With fingerprints on Bremerton’s waterfront redevelopment and, most recently, Bothell Landing, she brings a can-do attitude and refreshing business acumen to the project.
She’s legitimately excited.
“I’ve been involved in some other remarkable and transformative waterfront developments,” she said. “This project is special, though.”
Public input is one reason, says Lisa Lefeber, the Port’s public affairs director.
“After the 2009 crash, we pulled together an ad hoc committee of community members to take a fresh look at what they saw and this development plan incorporates those new ideas, including much more public activity with a livable environment for residents.”
John Mohr, the Port’s long-time executive director, has announced his retirement at the end of this year and a selection committee is being formed to find his successor.
For Mohr, seeing this project get to this point and ready for development was unfinished business.
“Needless to say, I’m grateful for the hard work everyone has put into getting to this point,” Mohr said.
“Everett deserves a sense of place, a destination and something to be proud of on its waterfront. I think Waterfront Place does that. Getting to this point was a bit of unfinished business”
It’s a sizable enough area that the Port will ask the city of Everett to approve it as its own neighborhood.
That’s so the waterfront can be part of the neighborhood tapestry and should complement downtown and Everett’s residential neighborhoods but with a unique waterfront element that everyone can experience.
The previous project was approved by the Everett City Council.
With the change in character and block configuration, the Port will, again, be seeking council approval for this project.
“The heights, densities and economic benefits of the project are the same as the Port Gardner Wharf Plan,” Lefeber said.