An out-of-town developer is taking steps to build a three-story hotel in downtown Friday Harbor.
The Town of Friday Harbor Council will hold a public hearing at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, March 15, at 60 Second St. before voting on whether to approve a permit, and a State Environmental Policy Act checklist, needed before construction begins. The permit is to protect shorelines during development and is regulated by the town’s shoreline master program. No design elements for construction will be voted on during the meeting.
The two undeveloped parcels are located at 196 and 240 Front St., across from the San Juan County Courthouse. The roughly half acre of land is designated as commercial, with views overlooking the marina.
Current plans call for a 29-unit hotel called Moby’s, which will include a 30-stall garage under the building and three stories of rooms, with a bistro on the first floor.
Wally Trace, a developer from Seattle, said he and his partner will finalize the purchase of the property if the many permits needed before construction are approved. His partner is the architect for the hotel, Carl Pirscher, also of Seattle.
The current owner of the parcels, according to a town report, is Tami Rable of Renton, Washington. Rable is the executor of Beatrice Boyce Carpenter’s estate, who has owned the property since 1996, according to the county treasurer’s office.
Trace said hotel guests would add to the island’s economy by spending money at local restaurants, retailers and marinas.
“Friday Harbor’s main industry is tourism,” he said. “A significant number of local jobs are related to guests on the island.”
Trace hopes to have the purchase finalized by the end of the summer. He said he has previously worked on a remodeling project for the Lopez Islander Resort, as well as on a project in Deer Harbor.
Islanders can also weigh in on the possible rezoning of another property in town. The owner of the land that housed the now-closed Life Care Center building on Spring Street has filed to change the zoning from personal services to commercial. The 30-day public comment period for the rezoning ends on March 16 and a public hearing has yet to be scheduled. According to Windermere’s Bill Giesy, who is handling the sale of the Spring Street property, the land has not been sold and there are no finalized development plans for the building, including for a new hotel.
Mail comments about the rezoning to Town of Friday Harbor, Mike Bertrand, land use administrator, P.O. Box 219, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, or drop them off at 60 Second St. Call the town at 360-378-2810 for more information.
View the report on the permit application and SEPA checklist for the Front Street property below.