Venerable Port Townsend Victorian building project moves into design phase

PORT TOWNSEND — Having received the city hearing examiner’s approval, Hastings Estate Co. Inc. is moving forward on the design of a 20,000-square-foot hotel and passenger-ferry terminal on the Port Townsend shoreline.

Port Townsend Hearing Examiner Phil Olbrechts last week approved the a shoreline substantial development permit for the Hastings Landing proposal, which means the company does not have to secure a conditional use permit from the city for a structure taller than 35 feet.

Long time coming

“It took us 3¬½ years to get the permit to do this,” Hastings Estate president Harry Dudley said Thursday, standing between the Hastings family’s block of Taylor Street between Water Street and Union Wharf.

Next comes shoring up a city critical areas permit, obtaining a Corps of Engineers permit, a city demolition permit and a city building permit, Dudley said.

But the hearing examiner’s decision was the main permit hurdle, he said.

The city’s Historic Preservation Committee will have a say in the building permit process as well as the State Historic Preservation Office, because the company seeks historic preservation tax credit.

The stateDepartment of Fish and Wildlife has issued the project a hydraulic permit, said Hastings Estate Property Manager Heather Dudley Poulsen, who is Harry and Zoe Ann Dudley’s daughter.

“We’ll be working with all the historic committees at the local, state and federal levels,” said Poulsen, who helped the family through the city paperwork and process.

Poulsen said VGS Architects of Seattle is working on preliminary designs for the five-story hotel project.

Design this year

“Our goal is the try to get the rest of the permitting process and the design phase this year,” she said.

The family hopes to begin construction in 2010, after the Feb. 15 to July 15 state fisheries salmon migration window closes.

During that period state Fish and Wildlife allows no building over the water in order to accommodate migrating salmon.

The project would involve the demolition of the former Surf Restaurant building and removal of pilings underneath it before construction could begin.

The Hastings Estate is in the process of finding a passenger-ferry company interested in a contract to land and depart from an existing float at Union Wharf.

Several ferry operators have expressed interest, Poulsen said, including the Water Limousine in Sequim, P.S. Express in Port Townsend, Victoria Express in Port Angeles and Victor Clipper in Seattle.

Argosy Cruises of Seattle has also expressed interest, she said.

Fifty feet high

The five-story building would be constructed to about 50 feet, short of the 57-foot height of the 1890 Hastings Building, which now has some retail space on its first floor but is otherwise without commercial tenants.

The ferry terminal would take up the first floor of the new building, with hotel rooms in the upper four floors.

The existing public accessway between the Hastings Building and the new structure would remain, allowing for a walkway around the new building.

The new building’s footprint over the water would be reduced 10 percent, Poulsen said.

Hotel support services space for the hotel would be in the Hastings Building next door, she said.

Rick Sepler, city Development Service Department director, said the city now wants to see the building designs in detail, along with the surrounding streetscape concept, including sidewalks.

“I think it’s the major hurdle in terms of entitlement,” Sepler said of the shoreline permit approval.


Port Townsend-Jefferson County Editor Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at

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