Harbor Architects gets Seaport Landing contract

Local firm Harbor Architects has been selected to create a master plan for Seaport Landing along the south bank of the Chehalis River in Aberdeen by the board of directors of the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority.

“They really understand who we are” and were the “obvious best choice,” that emerged from a search that started in April with 23 firms, said Capt. Les Bolton, executive director of Seaport Landing on Wednesday afternoon. The choice was made at a special meeting Tuesday night

The committee will proceed to negotiate a contract with the South F Street firm headed by Aberdeen native Alan Gozart.

The offer will be put to a vote by the board, probably at its regular meeting Tuesday, June 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the landing, at 500 N. Custer St., Bolton said.

Gozart and his team can see Seaport Landing from his office near the Chehalis River. It will be a home port for the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain.

Harbor Architects is full of local talent: Gozart’s son Aaron does design and drafting; Aberdeen native Monika Kuhnau, is the intern architect, receptionist Carrie Hubbard, though born in Italy, was raised in Hoquiam.

Even O.C. (Office Cat), a sleek black cat with subtle brown stripes, showed up one day at Harbor Architects’ 1904 building and was promptly adopted.

Gozart’s grandfather emigrated from Poland around the time of the first world war; his father met his mother while both worked for Schafer Brothers where Seaport Landing is today. So Alan Gozart first knew the landing as a “twinkle in my father’s eye,” he said Wednesday.

The team

The lead architect went from prospective partner to partner giving the “sales pitch until they all got infected” with enthusiasm for the master plan. The team consists of:

SRG Partnership, which has worked with Harbor Architects on Grays Harbor College projects for 10 years and will tackle urban design and long range master planning.

Berger Partnership has aquatic habitat and shore experience as landscape architects.

Civil engineers Maul, Foster, & Alongi will tackle site remediation, sustainable development, and solving complex environmental challenges in dealing with the former site of the Weyerhaeuser sawmill.

Heartland will provide market assessment, financial strategies, and help the team garner the considerable funding needed for the ambitious, multi-year project.

PRR, a firm that specializes in stakeholder engagement, will also help gain support for the multi-purpose 38-acre site.

Harbor Architects competed against firms from British Columbia, Seattle, and Oregon for the job. The Seaport Landing Master Plan will be the biggest, and most meaningful of jobs the firm has tackled, Gozart said.

The area will also feature a “non-traditional” museum that reflects the logging and seafaring past of the Harbor. Plans for the site, in part donated by Weyerhaeuser, also include recreation, food and industry, Bolton and Gozart said.