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SEATTLE-Ward’s Cove, a privately held local company, is planning a major mixed-use redevelopment of its Lake Union property that will include 12 houseboat moorings, a 14-slip marina for big yachts, renovated office space and 21 luxury townhouses. The company hopes to begin demolition and construction in early 2007 and complete the project by mid-2009.

The Ward’s Cove site runs on both sides of Fairview Avenue East, starting at East Hamlin Street and running north for about 1,000 feet. The project, currently in the permitting stage, calls for adding the houseboat moorings and the marina and renovating two office buildings that are on the waterside of the property and developing the townhouses on the uplands side across Fairview.

The company plans to sell the individual houseboat moorages and individual townhouses while retaining ownership of the property where the offices are located, which is adjacent to where the marina will be constructed. The townhouses will range in size from 1,700 sf to 2,700 sf and feature large view decks and Northwest architecture with wood, concrete and lots of glass. Access will be mainly from the alley behind, with private parking and individual elevators for each unit.

The project is being handled by Bill Weisfield, who joined Ward’s Cove 18 months ago to head up the redevelopment. Weisfield previously was president of Weyerhaeuser Venture Co., which ran Cornerstone Columbia Development Co., a division of Weyerhaeuser’s land management division (Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Co.) that owned and developed many office and hotel properties in Seattle and Portland. Weisfield tells GlobeSt.com that the architect is NBBJ and the general contractor is GLY Construction. Counsel for the project is the real estate law firm Buck & Gordon.

Ward’s Cove, founded in 1928 by Seattle’s Brindle family, occupied the Lake Union site in 1959 and acquired it two years later, using it as a base for its Alaskan Salmon fishing operations. In 2002, the company decided to exit the Alaskan salmon industry and focus on other operations, making way for the redevelopment, which will give the company additional sources of income and better fit the changing character of the neighborhood. Wards Cove is still engaged in commercial fishing for, and processing of, pollock, cod and crab in the Bering Sea, and operates several general retail stores in Alaska.

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