News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood


Waterfront center planned near Gas Works Park

By master · July 19th, 2009 · 8 Comments

The Center for Wooden Boats, which has a thriving facility on South Lake Union, is in the planning stages to create a maritime community center next to Gas Works Park on the north end of the lake.

The new facility, called Northlake Wharf, would be located on this property (aerial view), just west of the Harbor Patrol and Gas Works Park. The land was once used as a fuel dock, and it has 220 feet of waterfront as well as a short stretch of the Burke-Gilman trail. “The site has lain dormant for too long,” said Norma Jones, president of the Fremont Neighborhood Council, which supports the project. “The Center for Wooden Boats’ plan to improve and revitalize the site is a long overdue effort to better utilize our public waterfront.”

Over the weekend, the center held a public brainstorming session to gather ideas for the proposed project. Some of the suggestions included a public launch for small boats, a “floating fish and farmers market,” a community shop, a water taxi, boating classes, a place for kayakers to tie up, a sustainable shipyard and “boat in concerts.” Among the prevailing themes were making the facility neighborhood-friendly and inviting, as well as educational.

This is a very early “conceptual design” of the facility, which combines a community center and a maintenance facility for historic vessels with a behind-the-scenes look at the maritime industry. Jones imagines a day when “residents could buy lunch in Fremont then take a small boat for a picnic on the lake, or row to Lake Union Park and hop onto the streetcar for a day downtown.”

Just to the north of the property, the city closed this parking lot earlier this month with plans to convert it into a green space. Combined with the new Center for Wooden Boats facility, the hope is the redeveloped land will serve as a public extension of Gas Works Park. For more information on the project and how you can provide feedback, visit the Friends of Northlake Wharf website.

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ballard rocks now // Jul 19, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Knowing how much citizens of that area hate everyone else, this has minimal chance to pass. These citizens moved next to the most scenic park and hate everyone that attempts to use it. They killed off the summer concerts which was only a seasonal affair with less than 10 dates. I can’t imagine the hatred reserves they’ll tap to fight such an improvement.

    It all sounds like a grand idea however.

  • 2 Jon deLeeuw VP WC Council // Jul 19, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    This has been in the works for a while, and has the full support of the both the Wallingford Chamber of Commerce and the Community Council. Both groups look forward this project moving forward, and believe it will be a great addition to the Wallingford and Fremont areas.

    PS. The Gasworks concerts were actually opposed by a very small group of people who were very vocal in their opposition. Most of the neighborhood would have accepted the impact for those 10 days, and the business community would have welcomed the extra business.

  • 3 Friend of Zodiac // Jul 20, 2009 at 6:55 am

    I hope that whatever plan is adopted for this site allows the historic schooner Zodiac to continue to dock here in the winter for maintenance. She is a living piece of maritime history and Seattle is lucky to have her for part of the year.

  • 4 ExBallardite // Jul 20, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    I hope they fix the road as well.

  • 5 chopper_74 // Jul 20, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Two, maybe three times even…

  • 6 NoraBell // Jul 20, 2009 at 10:00 pm


  • 7 Sam DeBord, // Jul 21, 2009 at 5:29 am

    This will be a great addition to the Wallingford and Fremont area's waterfront. It still shocks me how many run down properties dot the shoreline of such valuable Seattle real estate.

  • 8 ExBallardite // Jul 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    one of my main complaints about Seattle. they don't mind building & improving things that generate more traffic into an area but they hardly ever update the infrastructure to handle the increase. therefore we end up with congestion.

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