A ballooning construction budget has forced the Port of Seattle to consider scaling back a planned $78. 5 million overhaul of Shilshole Bay Marina just months before the four-year-long...

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A ballooning construction budget has forced the Port of Seattle to consider scaling back a planned $78.5 million overhaul of Shilshole Bay Marina just months before the four-year-long project was scheduled to get under way.

Officials blamed design changes and the spiraling cost of steel, concrete, wood and other building materials over the past year for adding an estimated $10 million to the renovation’s price tag.

To make up the difference, Port staff want to scale back or eliminate buildings, landscaping, lighting and other projects on shore. The cuts would not change plans to replace docks and pilings and to improve electrical and safety systems in the water.

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The Port Commission is to vote on the proposal today.

The financial challenges raised concern among boat owners and organizations at Shilshole, one of the largest marinas on Puget Sound.

“It’s a big deal,” said Allen Hughes, president of the Shilshole Liveaboard Association, which represents about 300 boat owners.

“They haven’t started construction, and they are already scaling back.”

The plan to scale back the project rather than increase the budget reflects a growing effort by the Port to rein in the cost for big-ticket construction projects, especially on the water.

The renovations would be paid for with revenue from the marina, not out of the Port’s share of King County property taxes.

The Port decided to rebuild the 4-decade-old marina last year, citing growing maintenance costs and demand for slips that could handle today’s longer and wider boats.

Officials also face pressure to keep up with marinas in Everett, Bremerton, Olympia and elsewhere that plan major upgrades.

The project also aimed to give Shilshole a face-lift, with new paving, sidewalks, public plazas, signs, railings and other decorative touches. Those would now be limited mostly to the area around the marina’s new main building, which would be reduced by 20 percent to about 12,000 square feet.

The Port still plans to lease land to Anthony’s Restaurants to build a new waterfront restaurant at Shilshole, but new restrooms, showers and laundry rooms on the north and sound ends of the marina would be shelved, along with a planned maintenance-and-operations building. The current restrooms would be left in place.

That concerns the Corinthian Yacht Club, which says new restrooms and showers are need to handle crowds at the marina’s proposed small-boat sailing center, which will host national and international regattas.

Some of the cuts could be restored if any money is left when other portions of the project are finished, said Darlene Robertson, director of seaport and harbor services.

“When we get toward the end of construction, then we will take a look at what we could put back in,” Robertson said.

J. Martin McOmber: 206-464-2022 or mmcomber@seattletimes.com