Public can comment on new draft plan for waterfront
EVERETT - The Port of Everett is re-establishing a plan to build a mixed-use development on the port’s waterfront property after initial plans fell through with the collapse of the economy.
This time around the port is looking at putting in office buildings, retail stores and a hotel. Residential units also could be part of the plan. High-end luxury condos were part of the original plan for the property.
The public is invited to comment at a meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 5 at the port’s Waterfront Center, 1205 Craftsman Way, in the second floor Blue Heron Room. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m.
The port will discuss concepts and ideas for the development at the meeting.
In the early 2000s, the port developed a master plan for the area along West Marine View Drive. The Port Gardner Wharf plan envisioned high-end condominiums and retail space along the waterfront, but that vision died when the Chicago developer the port chose to work with went bankrupt. The port is no longer working with the Chicago developer.
Mixed-use development “makes sense and is still part of the plan” now, port spokeswoman Lisa Lefeber said last week.
“This isn’t going to be a wholesale change to the (Port Gardner Wharf) plan,” which is now being called the Marina District Master Plan, Lefeber said.
An ad hoc stakeholders committee finished a draft plan in September that recommends office buildings, retail and potentially a hotel on the site. Residential units, such as a retirement home, also could be part of the plan if the market allows it, the committee wrote.
A large-scale housing project is not recommended, the committee wrote.
Port officials spent the past months holding focus groups made up of boaters, neighborhoods and residents along the bluff, among other groups. Now it’s the public’s turn to weigh in.
The public meeting is one last step in the process before architecture firm Dykeman designs a final plan.
The final plan should be ready in September, Lefeber said.
The port also must determine whether it will sell the land to a developer, like it was going to do last time, or develop the site itself. The committee recommends the port act as the landowner and leasing agent.
Unlike the Port Gardner Wharf plan, the port’s three commissioners will take a more active role in shaping the waterfront this time, Lefeber said.
The port still has a working agreement with the city of Everett to develop the site, city planning director Allan Giffen said.
“The site is literally build-ready,” Lefeber said. “Essentially, we’re open for business.”
While the port has received inquiries from businesses in the past, nobody has contacted the port lately, Lefeber said.
The ad hoc committee’s report is available online at http://www.portofeverett.com/docs/
By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published March 14, 2012