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CWB’s New North Lake Union Workshop and Warehouse is open; boat restoration in Fremont/Wallingford has begun

May 8, 2012

CWB Boatshop and Livery Manager Kyle Hunter smashed a bottle of Fremont Brewing Company’s summer ale on the foundation Friday, May 4th, to formally christen The Center for Wooden Boats new North Lake Union Workshop and Warehouse.  The facility is just west of Gasworks Park and the Harbor Patrol docks, at 1475 N. Northlake Place, in Seattle.6999514016_11554cf7a1_o

And even as the open house continued Saturday, volunteers began working on the restoration of the “Colleen Wagner”, a sharpie that is a mainstay in our free public sail program every Sunday at the South Lake Union site. It’s also named after Colleen, the wife of CWB founder Dick Wagner.


Opening the new facility was a labor of love for the volunteers, many of whom turned out on the day after CWB signed the lease with King County back in December in order to pull blackberry vines and clean out the old Metro fuel depot. “Volunteers have spent hundreds of hours over the winter and spring straightening up the site, removing trash and garbage, doing repairs to the building and setting up a woodworking shop that dramatically expands our space for restoration of historic boats,” said Betsy Davis, Executive Director of The Center for Wooden Boats. “With the new site for storage and restoration of our collection we’ll be able to work on more boats more efficiently, and get them back into the water and available for people to use faster. What’s more, the new site has easy access to Wallingford and Fremont and makes it easier for more people there who are interested in working on historic boats to volunteer to help us. ”

7145593429_cb8bf9dac3_o“Even as this interim lease running to 2016 allows us to begin boat restoration on the site, we’ll keep working with our partners at King County to work out a longer term agreement that we hope will provide access to the water, so CWB can help residents of Wallingford, Fremont, the University District, Ballard and other North Seattle neighborhoods re-connect with Lake Union,” said Davis.

King County Councilman Larry Philips was on hand for the opening, praised the effort of the community and CWB volunteers to turn what was a dormant waterfront property on North Lake Union into a community gem.


CWB Board Member Jim Compton praised Councilman Phillips for pushing for the project. He also called out the rest of the King County Council and King County Executive Dow Constantine for encouraging all parties working on the complex project to keep moving ahead. Compton also thanked the Fremont and Wallingford Chambers of Commerce, the Fremont Neighborhood Council, The Wallingford Community Council and the many other groups who have long supported the idea of using the site for as 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.

The party on Friday night allowed supporters and representatives of companies that helped CWB reach the agreement with the county see the fruits of their handiwork. Companies donating time, services and supplies for the effort include : AnchorQEA, Mithun, KPFF Consulting Engineers. Terex Corporation’s Aerial Work Platforms loaned CWB one of their state of the art Genie scissor lifts allowing crews to reach up into the rafters to make repairs. Telecommunications giant CenturyLink even donated a historic, belt driven, drill press to CWB to use at the in renovation boat shop. Artist Hannah Viano, who created CWB’s Festival Poster in 2011 brought her artist’s eye to the CWB: Northlake facility and created a special 6 panel mural that portrays the view out into Lake Union from the new site.  It includes portions of the surrounding neighborhood: including kite hill from Gasworks Park and the Aurora Bridge. And off in on the distant South shore in the mural, CWB’s main location is depicted.


CWB is still working out all the details for what kinds of programs and activities it can conduct at the new site. But already volunteers working on sails and on boats have been signing up for shifts in the new facility. People from Wallingford and Fremont, or anywhere else, who are interested in helping with boat repair and restoration can find all the details about how to volunteer at any CWB site on our web page at


Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons

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