Submitted by the Port of Friday Harbor
“So how is the building going?” That’s the most-asked question along the Friday Harbor waterfront. In a nutshell: The Port is working hard to help businesses open by summer season 2016. A lot has happened—from environmental cleanup to constructing a new bulkhead—since fire destroyed the 1960’s era building in August of 2013. These necessary and time-consuming elements have laid the groundwork for the building taking shape before your eyes.
Wellman & Zuck Construction along with subcontractor MEM Construction has been hard at work since July of 2015 installing utilities, removing contaminated soil caused by old fuel lines at the site, and pouring the concrete components that make up the lower floor of the two-story structure.
The $7 million project is funded from insurance proceeds, Port reserve funds, a grant from San Juan County’s Public Facilities Financing Assistance Program and a loan from Islanders Bank. Costs to remove contaminated soil from the site will be borne by Chevron.
One of the goals of the building design is to make a more inviting public waterfront walkway to connect Spring Street with the Port docks and water-front park. The former parking lot is being replaced by a walkway, with native plantings and seating areas for public enjoyment of the waterfront. Diagonal parking along Front Street will serve customers and the general public.
The lower level leased spaces will be ready in April for interior buildout by the building’s tenants. The downstairs area includes three suites of retail space totaling 2,900 square feet. Local businesses San Juan Safaris, San Juan Whale and Wildlife Tours and San Juan Excursions have signed leases with the Port. Their business plans include offices for wildlife tours, gift shopping options, café foods, and coffee.
The upper level of the building is leased to Downriggers Restaurant. The structure, just beginning to take shape now, will be completed in June, with final touches to the walkway and plaza following in early summer. The design is the result of public input and working closely with the Town of Friday Harbor’s Historic Preservation Review Board.