(UPDATED 3:55 pm Friday, with information from Seattle Parks)
At first, it looked like possible progress for Marination‘s Seacrest Boathouse restaurant project when today’s city Land Use Information Bulletin arrived, with word that the land-use permit had been approved. But when we checked in with Marination owners Roz Edison and Kamala Saxton this morning, we found out that instead, they’re dealing with a new delay, and facing a fall opening, at best, compared to the mid-to-late summer estimate when they visited the Alki Community Council last month (WSB coverage here).
“Although Land Use has issued its decision, we just recently heard that we are still nearly 2 months away from getting a building permit,” Edison replied. She explained that the decision announced today will require the city to “inform the Department of Ecology in Olympia,” which then has up to a month to review and make its own decision. Even if it gives thumbs up, she continued, “then there is another mandatory period for public comment, 21 days. Only after this public comment period – again assuming no objections – will the Seattle DPD issue a building permit.”
She says Marination was “not informed of this secondary level of review when all this began.” And it’s not a promising timetable: “Our estimates, with this newly revealed process and our most hopeful build-out timelines, would have us opening in mid- to late September – just in time to watch the leaves turn color.”
So are they considering abandoning the project? We’re waiting for a reply to that followup question, and will also be checking up on where the city Parks Department believes everything stands. If you are just coming in on this ongoing story – the city chose Marination’s bid to operate Seacrest, over a bid by the previous concessionaire, Alki Crab and Fish. Then it was revealed that the site had never been formally approved for restaurant operations, and the city Department of Planning and Development was initiating a separate review on that.
ADDED 3:55 PM FRIDAY: We took our followup questions to Karen O’Connor in the Seattle Parks communications department, and she tracked down the people who could answer them. First, she confirmed that they have not yet finalized a lease with Marination, but said they are “close to a final lease agreement.” O’Connor said Parks has a more optimistic view of the timetable, while affirming what Marination’s Edison told us, that the state now has to issue its approval, with “a 21-day public involvement period that follows that. Then it goes back to DPD who issues the final permit. We hear that DOE often rules pretty quickly. It is still possible for a mid- to late-August opening, if things move along as we hope.”
Finally, we asked about the status of an official community meeting with an update on where things said, which Parks had previously promised for “late spring.” O’Connor says, “We will have some signage on the building by the end of next week and still plan to have a community meeting when we have definite dates that we can share with the community.”