Port seeks input on rebuild of Spring Street Landing, waterfront redevelopment

Unveiled at a Feb. 6 meeting of the Port of Friday Harbor

Port of Friday Harbor Commissioners are knee-deep in numbers and concepts as they figure out the whats, whys and hows of the Spring Street Landing redevelopment project.

Pride in the project and Port Commission’s desire for public participation in the decision-making process have led to release of more information about the buildings and more images of design and site plans for public perusal.

“We want to hear from you,” said Commissioner Greg Hertel, referring to the commission meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 26, and to the commission’s desire for input on the project from any source at any time. That meeting, at the Yacht Club, beginning at 4 p.m. has numerous Spring Street Landing items for discussion and action on the agenda.

Another public meeting for review of near-final drawings is planned for sometime in March, according to the present schedule.

All three commissioners confirm a “broad-brush ballpark estimate” of $4 million for construction of buildings to replace the burned out building formerly occupied by Downriggers Restaurant and three other businesses. Adding in waterfront bulkhead costs and “soft costs” such as architectural and engineering fees will add “substantially more” to the total costs, according to commission sources.

Some of the cost will come from a fire insurance settlement, which will probably be in the $2.2 million to $2.6 million range, although Commissioner Barbara Merritt thinks the final amount “should” approach $3 million.

According to Hertel, the insurance carrier is seeking to pay at the low end of the range, despite estimates by independent consultants that repairing the old structure is not possible and that rebuilding what was there before the fire would be at the high end of the range.Hertel SSL

At the Feb. 6 public meeting to review new preliminary designs for the SSL building, architect Peter Brachvogel of BC&J architects unveiled a two-building package having roughly 1,000 square feet more than the previous structure. The main building would have an upper level restaurant of about 4,000 square feet, plus a considerably larger deck to offer customers more outdoor dining space.

The lower level commercial space would also have about 4,000 square feet, which could be enough space for a fourth commercial tenant. The second, smaller building would be about 600 square feet, probably sufficient for one water sports tenant.

Tenants will have the opportunity to make (and pay for) improvements according to their needs and resources.

Between six and 16 underground parking spaces would be provided, depending on costs and whether extensive rock blasting would have to be done. Hertel thinks the larger number of space is necessary; Marrett prefers fewer.

“There will be compromises about many things,” notes Hertel, who prefers a more traditional, “working port” feeling for the new buildings, rather than the sleek modern design presented at the community meeting.

“We still have to look at the total costs and determine whether we have to scale back the high-end design we’ve been presented,” he said.

Commission Chairman Mike Ahrenius said his three prime directives were “pedestrian access to the whole property, provision of views and view corridors for all concerned and functional, customer-friendly commercial spaces and access on the lower level.”

All three commissioners want to see forward progress soon.

“I’d like to see some work on the grounds by late spring, vetting of contractors this summer and permits approved by September so construction can start in early Fall,” Hertel said.