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Northlake Community Wharf Update

September 22, 2011

King County Council directs Metro and The Center for Wooden Boats to move ahead on the first steps toward the Northlake Community Wharf.

The King County Council this month unanimously directed Metro and The Center for Wooden Boats to negotiate an interim lease for CWB to use the landside portion of an old Metro fuel facility at the North end of Lake Union.  An interim lease would be the first step major step toward fulfilling the vision of the Seattle/King County Maritime Heritage Task Force that called in 2005 for the creation of a Northlake Community Wharf on the site just West of Gasworks park.

The interim lease would cover CWB’s use of the 5,000-square foot warehouse on the site, along with the open yard space next to the building for boat storage, restoration, maintenance, and other compatible activities. This first lease will also give all parties involved more time to continue the to look at and develop plans to deal with environmental issues related to the site’s long time use as a marine fuel facility.

The long term vision for the Northlake Community Wharf calls for it to be a new point of access to the water for neighborhoods to the North of Lake Union and to be a place where people who live nearby can get involved in and restoration and repair of heritage vessels.

Press Coverage:

Center for Wooden Boats moves forward on plans for north Lake Union site

Second site for Center for Wooden Boats…here!

Lake Union site may become ‘community wharf’

Potential new home for The Center for Wooden Boats at North Lake Union

Northlake Community Wharf Feasibility Study Report

February 24, 2011

The pursuit of a community resource at the north end of Lake Union began with the need to address a crisis in the preservation and interpretation of maritime heritage in Seattle and the surrounding area. Two of the three fundamental issues facing maritime heritage, as reported in the 2005 Maritime Heritage Task Force Report, are the identification of potential sites for long-term display and workplace moorage for large historic vessels and the identification of community support; a broadbased coalition of business, tourism, and cultural entities.

The Task Force identified The Center for Wooden Boats [CWB] as a potential leader in the discovery of remedies for these issues. Since then, CWB has managed the feasibility study of Northlake Community Wharf – a proposed site located at the north end of Lake Union that would serve the dual purpose of housing large National Historic Landmark vessels for both display and maintenance and acting as a center of community waterfront activity – inviting the public to be a part of history and to participate in the legacy that is Seattle maritime.

With guidance from a Steering Committee that includes representatives from Wallingford, Fremont, heritage organizations and other stakeholders, significant outreach was conducted to assess support for the project and to provide an opportuinty for local communities and heritage vessel owners to shape the design of the potential site.

The Vision: Turn a neglected public shoreline into a civic resource.

The Plan: Engage neighbors and improve the site, then activate with programs.

The Gap: Despite significant effort and broad community support, site control continues to be the main challenge.

This feasibility study supports the recommendations of the Seattle/King County Task Force on Maritime Heritage, as well as many other community initiatives, and is meant to act as both documentation of work to date as well as a guide to future efforts relating to the proposed designation of a community resource at the edge of North Lake Union.

– Betsy Davis
Executive Director, The Center for Wooden Boats

Download the Feasibility Report


1: Community Letters of Support

2: County and City Council Resolutions

3. Results of Historic Ships Survey

4. Results of Design Charettes

5. Brochures and Collateral about Northlake Community Wharf

6. CWB’s Capital Campaign – Case Statement

7. Grant applications

8. Cost scoping

9. Programming

Recent NLU News

January 15, 2011

Friends of Northlake Community Wharf is excited to announce recent legislation that revives the discussion related to the potential use of property located at the North End of Lake Union by CWB. Last week, Councilmember Larry Phillips released the following statement:

“I am pleased to announce that today the Metropolitan King County Council unanimously passed legislation (Motion 2010-0601) supporting the potential use of the Metro Transit-owned North Lake Union dock property by the Center for Wooden Boats (CWB).  I was pleased to initiate and sponsor this legislation, and to vote in favor of it.

The motion provides Council support for re-energized discussions between Metro Transit and the CWB with the goal of seeking ways to allow use of the site by the CWB, while addressing the significant environmental and legal issues at the site.  Specifically, the motion directs an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Metro Transit and the CWB modeled on the February 2009 MOU between Metro Transit and Historic Seattle.  It also directs facilitator-guided discussions, and, if agreement is not reached within 12 months, that the facilitator will provide a letter to the Council summarizing policy alternatives.

The CWB’s important programming highlights our region’s unique maritime heritage, and provides opportunities for the public to learn firsthand, on classic wooden boats and on the water.  The North Lake Union site is a rare site with potential for public access to the Lake Union waterfront, so if there is a way to make use of the North Lake Union site for the CWB and the public, I would like to find it.  I am very aware of the complicated environmental remediation realities of the site, but believe that the potential significant public benefit of opening up the site to the CWB and the public warrants this re-energized discussion and creative thinking about options for making this happen.

Thanks in advance for your work with Metro Transit to talk through the issues and opportunities at this site, both in the past and again, going forward over this coming year.”

Learn more about Councilmember Phillips.

Stay tuned for more updates regarding the Northlake Community Wharf.

Washington Museum Association Honors CWB with Awards

July 7, 2010

The Center for Wooden Boats has received two awards  from the Washington Museum Association.

The Working Group at Lake Union Park (which CWB has helped lead) received the 2010 Awards of Project Excellence. Happily, there were representatives from Northwest Seaport, Discovery Modelers, Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society, MOHAI and CWB on hand to accept the award together. The award recognizes the Working Group “for its contributions toward raising the profile and improving the image of Seattle’s maritime history” and describes the group as “a significant model of achievement through partnering with neighboring institutions.”

Dick Wagner received the 2010 Award of Individual Excellence. He was recognized for “his exceptional accomplishments in facilitating the creation of The Center for Wooden Boats…His leadership has ensured that a new generation of leaders, volunteers, and staff will continue to provide the community with a fun, hands-on culture and heritage experience at the water’s edge. He is an inspiratino to heritage organizations throughout Washington State.”

CWB Continues to Advocate for Northlake Wharf

June 18, 2010

Volunteer, Steering Committee member, and Wallingford resident Geoff Braden talks with an attendee about the Northlake Community Wharf at the Opportunity Fund Open House.

CWB Executive Director Betsy Davis gives a two-minute presentation about Northlake Community Wharf to the Opportunity Fund Oversight Committee.

On Monday, June 14th, The Center for Wooden Boats advocated for the Northlake Community Wharf project to the Seattle Parks and Rec. Department’s Oversight Committee in charge of the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund. The fund “provides funding only for community initiated park development or property acquisition projects. Parks will award up to $7 million to projects in this first funding cycle of the Opportunity Fund.” Find more information about the Opportunity Fund here:

Applicants were allowed to present in an open house format for 45 minutes and then give a 2-minute presentation to the Oversight Committee who will pass their recommendations on to the mayor.

Tall Ship Adventuress Wins Online Voting for Historical Preservation Grant

May 14, 2010

The tall ship Adventuress won an online vote today for a share of a $1 million historical preservation grant that could net the schooner $125,000.

Nate Cole-Daum, spokesman for the American Express Partners In Preservation Seattle-Puget Sound Initiative, said the ship will get the full amount it requested because it won, edging the Seattle Town Hall.

Earlier Wednesday, the schooner Adventuress had an extremely slim lead for the top spot over the Seattle Town Hall in the American Express Partners In Preservation Seattle-Puget Sound Initiative.

Both showed a 19 percent share of the vote as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, but the Adventuress was listed first, indicating that it had more votes than its closest rival.

Supporters of the Adventuress sought the $100,000 prize to renovate the schooner’s stern.

Find more information about the Schooner Adventuress at Also, check out the video posted here on on January 27, 2010:

Captain Korie Milke from Adventuress on What it Takes to Maintain a Working Historic Tall Ship

– Information gathered from Peninsula Daily News

Lady Washington and Hawaiian Cheiftan Visit The Center for Wooden Boats

April 28, 2010

The Lady Washington is the Official Ship of the State of Washington. The Hawaiian Chieftain accompanies her on her voyages and goodwill missions. Both ships will be moored at Lake Union Park for Opening Day of boating season, from April 30th through May 2. They will be open for dockside tours, and will stage a Battle Sail at 3pm on Saturday, May 1.

Find more information at