By Meghan Hall
Over the past several years, the Port of Everett has moved forward with efforts to reimagine its waterfront and open nearly 65 acres back up to the public. The first phase of the project, known as Fisherman’s Harbor at Waterfront Place will break ground in 2021. Its design will usher in a new era for the Port and surrounding community but will build upon the region’s extensive fishing heritage.
Six new retail spaces are slated for Phase One, and once complete, the entire project will include 60,000 square feet of new waterfront retail. In addition, plans include a new 142-room Hotel Indigo as well as the Waterfront Place Apartments, which will include 266 units.
“It was a heavily polluted site and so [The Port of Everett has] been working overtime to clean it up and make it and make it more usable for modern times,” explained Cushing Terrell Project Manager Kara Eberle. “Living in the Puget Sound, the water is a part of our culture, right? We all want to be near the water. And so, it’s really this great opportunity for the community of Everett and people from outside the community to come and experience the waterfront.”
The massing of the retail buildings will be relatively streamlined in nature, pulling from the industrial feel of the Port. The gable-shaped buildings will feature flatter roofs to make the design more modern, as well as hide equipment needed to operate retail and restaurants below. The buildings will be connected to a large, open-air covered seating area to allow for views of the water and provide shelter from the elements.
“The form in particular, we’re giving a nod back to that fishing past,” said Eberle. “They’re typically really simple buildings…They were made of wood, timber construction. We borrowed that language, but we’re just making it more contemporary.”
The project will be pushed as closed to the water as possible to make for a seamless transition out to the ocean. While specific materials are still being hashed out as the design team evaluates what products will best withstand the Puget Sound environment, future decisions will continue to be inspired by the surrounding context and previous development.
“The projects within Fishermen’s Harbor are mixed-use, and our particular projects are focused on retail and restaurant. They are right along the waterfront, right in the marina,” Eberle stated. “One of the things that we as a design group looked at is some of the other buildings being built on the site; they’re pretty cool in their color palette – definitely a nod to the ocean with the grays and the blues, and kind of nodding to that maritime look.”
Cushing Terrell and others also hope to bring some “flashes of red” into the building palette to warm up their appearance. According to Eberle, many of the historic buildings on the project site had red paint or terracotta roofs, and that incorporating warmth into the design will help the buildings merge with their surroundings.
The first phase of the project could be completed as early as 2022, with the remaining two phases to be developed over the next four years. Even early on in the process, the project team faced additional challenges and considerations due to the current pandemic’s impact on retail and restaurant operations. For Cushing Terrell, easy access in and out of the building, ventilation, and that all-important indoor-outdoor approach were key.
“I really believe that the future of retail in navigating this space of coronavirus is about how do we provide covered outside space for people to partake in food and to still gather responsibly,” said Eberle. “We created a very, very large covered outdoor seating area in this building that allows people to still gather responsibly outside and be connected to the water.”
Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, the retail complex has already secured its first tenant: South Fork Baking Company. The bakery will take over one of the new retail spaces part of phase one, located at the south end of the development. The 6,000 square foot structure will be close to both the hotel and new apartment complex, positioning it well for both residents and guests.
For now, the project team is focused on ensuring that the building shells and layout work for future tenants and guests alike, and the day that the Everett community can experience the waterfront in a new, modern—and safe—way.