By Isaac Bonnell
West Coast Marine Services is still recovering from a fire that gutted its building back in November 2008, but the company is on its way to starting construction of a new, larger facility.
The new building, located at 1200 C St. behind Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen, would have a footprint of approximately 4,000 square feet with an additional 2,000 square feet of office space in a loft, said Pete Foti, who owns West Coast Marine Services with his wife, Jamie.
The preliminary plans involve tearing down the two existing buildings on the site in order to maximize the lot size, said Tom Grinstad of Grinstad & Wagner Architects. The new building will just be a single story, like the old one, but will include some additional, much-needed office space. The old building had a gable roof and the new roof will be a shed roof, which allows it to have a partial second-story loft.
“Our old building was such cramped quarters for everyone,” Jamie said. “It’ll be nice to have everyone back in the same building again” — but with more elbow room.
Plans for the building were well received at a neighborhood meeting in June, Pete said, but must get approval from the city’s design review board this month before proceeding.
“The sooner the better, as far as we’re concerned,” Pete said.
The business has already incurred the cost of relocating to a temporary site at Colony Wharf, and their insurance will not cover additional costs beyond 12 months from the date of the fire.
“That’s as long as they will cover us and that date is fast approaching,” Jamie said.
In the meantime, Jamie sits in her temporary office at the old location, pointing customers to the new location across the street. Many of these customers have been coming to West Coast Marine Services since it opened in 1986 and are surprised to see the building abandoned.
“Probably upwards of 20 times a day I have to assure people that we haven’t closed,” Jamie said.
The Fotis hope the new building will remind people that the company is still in business and will spur new development in Old Town, an area in which the city is actively promoting development of an urban village.
“It’s exciting, but it’s going to be an expensive and time-consuming ordeal,” Jamie said. “Hopefully it will help freshen up the neighborhood.”