Port of Everett finally finds a developer to build waterfront housing

Puget Sound Business Journal

It has taken nearly 10 years, but the Port of Everett at last has found someone to build a large waterfront housing development.

On Thursday, the port announced that American Classic Homes of Mercer Island will buy nearly 5.5 acres and build 254 apartments in the new Fisherman’s Harbor District in Waterfront Place. Noting that this is the first ever housing development on the waterfront, Port Commissioner Troy McClelland called it “a historic transaction.”

That the port finally found a developer is a sign that this current boom is deeper than past ones, when big plans in outlying areas of the Puget Sound region fizzled.

That’s what happened at the turn of the century when the port and a Chicago company, Maritime Trust, spent years putting together a development deal to build 600 condos, shops and a 1,000-seat amphitheater. The deal died one month after construction started in 2007, when a major financial backer pulled out.

American Classic Homes, a family-owned company that has built communities across the region, is paying $7 million for the property and will build two residential buildings of up to 45 feet tall. Construction is to begin next summer, with the apartments opening in the spring of 2019.

Work already is underway on streets, a trail system, plaza, a new bulkhead and other infrastructure. The port recently awarded $12 million in contracts to Interwest Construction and Bergerson Construction.

The infrastructure and apartment construction work will support 1,000 temporary construction jobs annually, 335 direct jobs, $7.6 million in annual payroll, and approximately $1 million in state and local taxes, according to the port.

Fisherman’s Harbor, the first phase of the 65-acre Waterfront Place Central development, totals 12 acres next to West Marine View Drive. In addition to the apartments, a 140-room hotel is planned along with commercial buildings and retail and restaurant spaces.

When built out, Waterfront Place Central will have up to 660 housing units, the hotel, 662,000 square feet of commercial space and public gathering spaces, according to the port, which forecasts that the project will generate around $500 million in private investment and support more than 2,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs. It’s estimated this will generate $8.6 million in new tax revenue a year for the city.

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