By Rachel Showalter
A large boat storage and repair facility along Bellingham’s waterfront north of Seattle, Wash., and just south of the Canadian border is closer to construction. The Seaview North Boatyard Building is expected to encompass 42,000 square feet and almost 60-feet tall, according to permitting documents. Seaview Boatyard already employs 30 people and is expected to double the size of the crew.
Depending on size, the facility will be able to store up to 200 boats in covered rack storage, according to Seaview CEO Phil Riise. Riise said the facility will be necessary to meet the growing demand of the industry.
“We’ve been growing exponentially and experienced high growth over the last four years like we’ve never seen,” Riise said.
The project will include soil stabilization, a concrete foundation and a conversion of the site’s gravel yard into an asphalt-covered storage yard. The total cost is expected to be more than $6 million, according to Riise.
Public comments about the project expressed concern that the building would block views of Bellingham Bay and surrounding areas from nearby residences that sit on a bluff above the project site.
A view analysis determined that, depending on the location, portions of views will be blocked by the building. Still, the residences will still retain their views of most of Bellingham Bay and the majority of Lummi, Eliza, Portage and Orcas islands. As such, the city determined there would not be significant impacts on views.
Project construction is expected to generate noise during regular business hours. Once the project is complete, the equipment, automobile and boat repair noises may be heard from the facility during regular business hours.
Construction on the project has not yet begun, though Riise said the project is in its final phases. “We’re serious. We’ve made the investment. We just need to take a close look at the economy first,” Riise told The Herald.
Construction is expected to take nine to 12 months once it begins, according to the city of Bellingham’s Development Services Manager Kurt Nabbefeld.
Rachel Showalter is a reporter for The Bellingham Herald.