New marine trade facility to be first on Peninsula

The Port of Port Angeles structure a $7.5 million project

PORT ANGELES — The Port of Port Angeles is embarking on a path to build the only marine trades facility of its kind in Clallam and Jefferson counties.

Referred to at a recent port commissioners’ meeting as the MTC (for Marine Trades Center) Paint Building but offering a broader purpose than that, the estimated $7.5 million project on 18 acres of port property off Marine Drive will rise to 75 feet.

The first new building at the site will house up to 30,000 to 35,000 square feet of work space. It will provide enough elbow room for vessels of up to 180 feet long and 35 feet wide, and offer leases of up to two months, port Director of Engineering Chris Hartman said Thursday.

Unlike other behemoth, privately-run marine trades buildings along the city’s waterfront, it will be open to multiple users.

The pre-engineered metal structure will be built by the “rough date” of 2024, Hartman said.

The Port of Port Townsend offers public, covered shelter space for boat work by the day, with buildings on port property leased or owned by tenants, Executive Director Eron Berg said Thursday.

What the Port of Port Angeles is doing “is something we’ve talked about,” he said.

Hartman said he expects a pre-design professional services agreement of up to $61,100 will be finalized next week with Mount Vernon-based Carletti Architects.

Port commissioners approved moving forward with the contract Dec. 14.

The contract is $11,100 over budget, the difference covered by a $200,000 capital contingency fund.

Carletti will draw up 30 percent design documents that Hartman expects will be presented by early in the second quarter of 2022, Hartman said.

They will include electrical and mechanical drawings, floor plans, section views and the project’s scope, schedule and estimated cost.

That 30 percent design level of progress on a project is required for applications for competitive federal matching grants that can cover 75 percent of the cost, Hartman said.

The port will chip in the remaining 25 percent from port capital reserves, but those funds can go only so far, he said.

“We may be reducing the scope and size of the facility based on what programs are out there,” he said.

“We have to identify the right program we want to go after, and we may adjust the scope.”

A building of 15,000 square feet, for example, could be built to accommodate an addition.

The structure, allowed in the city heavy industrial zone at 75 feet without a conditional use permit, will rise at the port’s Marine Trades Center parcel at 439 Marine Drive, a parcel being reborn from its former role as home to plywood mills.

“If we need to go beyond that height, we’ll consider it,” Hartman said.

The building could include at least two work bays — or fewer, depending on the scope — with painting equipment and work space for marine trades businesses. They could lease space for up to two months.

“This new building will set the standard for additional buildings to be located at the Marine Trades Center,” Hartman said in his report to the commissioners.

“Attention to branding, such as signage location, colors and siding choices will be included within the design of the project.”

The port wants a 500-ton travel lift already in use at the waterfront to be able to navigate the building, Hartman said. A 300-ton lift also is available to port tenants.

“This building will be sized to allow those large yachts to be able to come inside for repair, and for construction of new boats as well,” Hartman said Thursday, adding government and industrial vessels to the mix.

“The port has been working for many years on identifying the best and highest use” of trades center site, Hartman said.

“We narrowed in on marine trades because of our competitive advantage and the surrounding infrastructure there along with favorable zoning at that location.”

The focus of the building will be short term and project-based uses, he said.

“We are there to support all marine trades uses in the Marine Trades Center, and a lot of the marine trades industry has a mobile workforce that travels at times and bids on jobs,” Hartman said.

A port vessel wash-down facility, completed in 2019, was the first step in developing the site and a foundational piece in its evolution, Hartman said.

The trades center building is a logical next step for maintaining vessels that regularly need bottom paint and must be washed first, he said.

Potential Marine Trades Center tenants have insisted they need such a facility to make a viable go of it in Port Angeles, Hartman said.

“This will be a very important piece for the industry,” he said.

The project is “a great idea,” Berg said.

“I’ve got to think there’s demand, and it should be a useful building for them.”

Berg said the port may face a challenge in the unpredictability often inherent in scheduling work on a boat and the not uncommon difficulty of setting specific deadlines for completion of projects.

“They’ve got to have their spot,” he said of tenants.

“We as a port want to maintain 100 percent occupancy.”

Carletti was one of eight applicants who responded to the port request-for-qualifications outreach, none of whom were from Clallam or Jefferson counties. A port evaluation team selected the company bases on its qualifications, Hartman said.

The company has designed similar buildings at the ports of Skagit and Bellingham.

The pre-design process will include stakeholder meetings, Hartman said.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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