The Port of Seattle Commission on Aug. 8 announced that it has approved $32.6 million to transform one of the oldest existing facilities at the port, the historic Ship Supply Building at Fishermen’s Terminal, into its Maritime Innovation Center.
The port has said it’s building the facility to meet sustainability objectives, attract global industry leaders to Puget Sound, and demonstrate the connection between innovative technologies and the maritime industry.
Built in 1914, the historic Ship Supply Building is to be restored and modernized into a 15,000 square foot facility with a mix of working space for incubators, accelerators and anchor tenants along with fabrication and event space.
The port has also said that it plans to make investments in Fishermen’s Terminal to make it easier to navigate and more informative by adding “new historical perspectives from a wider array of voices and communities.”
“The Maritime Innovation Center will inspire collaboration between entrepreneurs, investors, and workers that will grow our region’s blue-green economy by drawing on our heritage to create living wage careers of the future,” Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman said in an announcement about the facility’s construction.
“The Maritime Innovation Center will serve as headquarters for incubator and accelerator programs that are already helping startups and established businesses refine and scale their work,” the port explained in a statement. “(It) will also support workforce development programs aimed at ensuring that job opportunities in maritime industries are equitably accessible to all communities.”
Along with the creation of the new Maritime Innovation Center, the port plans to make Fishermen’s Terminal easier to navigate and more educational for visitors. New wayfinding and site signage, interpretative signage, and landscaping are expected to balance port objectives of inviting the public to explore the terminal and the value of the working waterfront.
The new signage was developed by two members of the local fisher community—public historian Sharon Boswell and collaborator and Native consultant Headwater People—as well as local public history experts. The result is expected to tell the history of Fishermen’s Terminal through an array of individual voices, communities and moments.
Construction of the Maritime Innovation Center is scheduled to begin by the second quarter of 2024 and be completed by the end of 2025, according to the port.
Fishermen’s Terminal is a 109-year-old area of roughly 65 acres that the Port of Seattle considers the headquarters of the North Pacific Fishing Fleet.