Developers want to bring water taxi to Lake Washington with service to South Lake Union

The ferries would be similar to King County’s Water Taxi running between Seattle and West Seattle, but bigger. (Photo: KOMO News)

RENTON, Wash. - The developers of a Renton business park want to bring back an old idea to shuttle high-tech workers.

Seco Development has begun work on funding a water taxi to ferry passengers from its Southport office park on the south shore of Lake Washington, near the Boeing Renton plant to Seattle’s high-tech hub at South Lake Union.

“We believe a water taxi connection from Southport provides that connectivity to move people across our region in a very predictable and eco-friendly way, and we believe it's a better commute,” said Rocale Timmons, Seco Development’s Director of Planning and Development.

For a half century, the Mosquito Fleet of steam ships shuttled patrons across Puget Sound and Lake Washington until the mid-1900’s.

It’s an old idea that has new purpose and usefulness in this age of clogged roadways and multi-hour commutes.

The initial run would be between Southport, a 730,000 square office park now under construction, to one of the docks on the southern edge of South Lake Union.

Southport and the surrounding areas could accommodate 20,000 workers and 2,500 living units.

Timmons envisions other routes to other cities on Lake Washington such as Kenmore and Kirkland.

“For real estate developers like Seco, we believe it's our responsibility just as much as it is with public officials and other public entities to find solutions to accommodate this growth,” said Timmons.

Seco is shooting for a start date in 2020. There is no projected project cost or an estimate of what a one-way fare would be for the 15-mile trip.

“That’s a pretty aggressive start date given all the permitting that needs to be done,” said Kip Spencer, Director of Leasing and Marketing for Seco Development.

The company is looking for a public-private partnership with King County and other governments that would benefit from the water taxi.

“We are prepared to do this boat, the water taxi ourselves if needed,” said Spencer. “But, having those municipalities and county leaders be a part of this, makes it all that much more meaningful.”

The ferries would be similar to King County’s Water Taxi running between Seattle and West Seattle, but bigger. The cost of building just one ferry is estimated to be in the millions of dollars.

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