Friday Harbor’s landmark Downrigger’s restaurant burned down back in August. The Port of Friday Harbor is utilizing the chance to change the waterfront, but construction of the replacement buildings isn’t scheduled to start until September 2014. Original post by Scott Rasmussen of The Journal of the San Juan Islands is here.
It didn’t take long for the Friday Harbor Port Commission to order the first major change in the Spring Street Landing replacement building plan.
Instead of an east-west building orientation, perpendicular to the waterfront at the south side of the property, the design team is being told by the commission to return to the north-south orientation of the present burned-out building, and move the building a few feet north and a few feet closer to the waterfront.
Commission Chairman Greg Hertel explained that the best view from the building decks, especially from the restaurant deck, must include the boat activity in the bay and the ferry coming and going from the ferry dock.
“It would be a major mistake to take that wonderful harbor view away,” said Hertel, even recognizing that the original orientation would provide a nice park from the street to the water’s edge.
The revised plan would also move the planned small second building from the north end of the property, next to Fairweather Park, to the south side of the replacement building. Although this smaller building will be included in the plans for permits, construction may be postponed depending on funding availability.
Part of the commission’s idea is also economic, Hertel said. “We need to maximize the commercial areas to support the public areas,” said Hertel, who thought the revised plot plan would yield a better long-term revenue stream.
The commission also approved a $75,000 contract with MEM Enterprises of Friday Harbor for demolition of the burned-out building, without chairman Hertel’s amendment that demolition should begin immediately. Port Director Marilyn O’Connor explained that the insurer needed “a few more days” to finish their work on the old building, but that “demolition should start after the holidays and be finished in about two weeks.”
Revised conceptual drawings should be available for public comment and commission action in January.
“We’ve got to decide on the scope of the building and site plan and get the permit process started or we won’t be able to start construction in September and finish before summer 2015,” Hertel said.
The port has hired three teams to work on three aspects of the overall project. J.A. Brennan Associates, landscape architects of Seattle, Moffatt & Nichols engineers of Long Beach, Calif., and Makers planning and urban designs of Seattle will collaborate on the master plan for the waterfront. PND Engineering of Seattle will design the rebuilt bulkhead. And BC&J architecture and construction management of Seattle will produce the plans and oversee construction of the new Spring Street Landing buildings.
The commission’s current schedule calls for at least one commission meeting, with public input, in late January or early February to review preliminary drawings and plans, with a commission meeting in March to approve final plans.
Meanwhile, the commission has given port staff authority to plan for temporary space for former tenants (including space for a food truck for Downriggers Restaurant, from April or May through September, when construction, which will continue for about eight months, is expected to begin.