Breaking ground on Spring Street Landing

The construction is now set to begin July 15 on the Spring Street Landing Commercial Building on Front Street. The Friday Harbor Port Commission awarded the project to Wellman and Zuck Construction for $5.375 million, the lowest bidder.

San Juan Safaris, San Juan Excursions and Downriggers Restaurant will be renewing their occupancy of the building since it burned down Aug. 17, 2013.

“We wanted to assure them that they could come back,” said Port of Friday Harbor Commissioner Greg Hertel. “So we passed a resolution that all those businesses there before the fire would get a chance to return.”

Only one tenant decided not to return. The space will be filled by San Juan Island Whale and Wildlife Tours.

The tour businesses will be on the first floor looking out at the port and towards the ferry, and Downriggers will be on the second floor with outside seating.

There will also be a large public deck that faces the water, an addition from the last version of the landing.

“There’s a huge public access that wasn’t there before,” Hertel said. He added that a sidewalk  will connect the landing to the Port of Friday Harbor offices to allow for more foot traffic.

According to Hertel, he has some concerns about choosing Wellman and Zuck, a construction company from Bellingham, because of delays in other construction they’ve done on the island such as San Juan Island Museum of Art and Island Inn at 123 West.

“Sometimes the delays weren’t their fault, but we’ve told them we need to get this rolling,” Hertel said. “We want to get this thing done.”

According to Joe Wheeler, facilities manager at the Port of Friday Harbor, the building will be “substantially complete” by April 1, 2016. At that point it will be turned over to the tenants to finish their spaces.

“It is certainly going to pose some obstacles but we’re going to do our best,” said Wheeler about the summer 2015 construction. “We’ve really tried to foresee any difficulties, with foot traffic to and from the marina.” The Port plans to have the building open for business by June 2016.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article mentioned a concern amongst the commissioners. The concern was from one commissioner.