By Marie L. Monyak
March 20, 2006
Once everyone was seated, Terry Wanzer, local restaurateur, hotelier and real estate broker approached the podium to talk a little about his feelings on Ketchikan past, present and future. "I came to Ketchikan in 1963 when Newtown had a multitude of businesses; two service companies, the Marine Bar, the Ford dealership, Hansen's, all kinds of transportation companies and City Float was packed with commercial boats," Wanzer stated.
"We now have an industry that is growing by leaps and bounds and we haven't kept up with it," Wanzer continued. "We have people that are looking at Ketchikan that agree there is a tremendous benefit to this town in what it has to offer with its scenic beauty, its people, its tremendous potential as far as living and doing business here.
"So, my guest came here and saw that vision and decided to invest in our community, he has made an offer and is in the process of working with Southeast Stevedoring and all the development that is going on in that area."
Wanzer introduced his guest David Hauck of the newly formed entity, Ketchikan Packing L.L.C. Hauck spoke at length with great passion about his vision for what he called, "a pretty incredible piece of property in a pretty incredible town." The property that Hauck was speaking of was Waterfront Storage.
Local residents have heard Waterfront Storage on Tongass Avenue called many things but rarely if ever, incredible. A little background on Hauck helps one to understand how he can perceive a run down building, oftentimes referred to as an eyesore, become a beautiful, functional, economic success for Ketchikan.
Working his way through college as a carpenter and landscaper, Hauck knew he wanted to be involved in architecture and design. After a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps, he attended college and earned a degree in finance. Having started out with a lumber business that he turned into a framing company, Hauck knew he had the background necessary to build homes.
Living in affluent Laguna Beach California, Hauck related that he had recently finished rebuilding a home that was originally constructed in 1907. Once completed the home was placed on the Historic register. Currently, Hauck is working on rebuilding another home originally constructed in 1927. This in itself should convince local residents of Hauck's penchant towards retaining the historic value of his projects.
Ketchikan residents are not easily convinced and have been known to lean towards being suspicious of outsiders. As if Hauck sensed this, he brought with him a poster board portfolio showing a project he worked on in Astoria Oregon. His team rebuilt and replicated a 50 year old cannery, preserving its history and it now serve as a 4 story hotel.
Further evidence became obvious to those present at the luncheon when they heard Hauck speak with great passion and enthusiasm while he described his first tour through the Waterfront Storage building, escorted by Bobby Jackson, the real estate agent representing the current owners.
Calling Waterfront Storage an interesting building, Hauck became more excited upon entering the building as he related to the audience, "I was absolutely blown away! I came up in the lumber and framing business and I have never seen old growth timber that you find in that building. Those massive, wonderful beams and posts and flooring, wow, this is pretty incredible!"
Shortly after the walk-through, Hauck called his wife in California and told her, "You're not going to believe this, I just walked a building and I had a vision of Cannery Row [Monterey, California] and it's for sale!" Hauck's next call was to an architect friend whose firm is very selective about whom they choose to work for. With current projects in Europe, China and India, Hauck related, "These are visionary people, they are very creative."
Explaining the process involved in designing a project, Hauck informed those present that ideas are pulled together, images are shown to people and governing agencies to get feedback. "What it will eventually involve into will speak to the area in which it is being built."
Hauck's excitement was palpable as he continued, "The building that we envision will be a multi-use project, it will have retail, it will have offices, it will have apartments, condominiums, it will have public spaces. Inside, I think we can speak to the historic elements of Ketchikan, talk about the fishing industry, and present something about aviation, maybe end up with an old airplane in there someplace, maybe a skiff. As far as I'm concerned, there should be an interpretive center in there where people can learn, kind of a learning center that people can look at and enjoy."
"I think it would be wonderful to have some public outdoor spaces, pavilions if you will, that would be covered." Hauck went on, "People can have an art's and craft's fair, Ferry and I talked about a marketplace on Saturdays; that would be wonderful."
The audience could tell that Hauck had done his homework when he stated, "I've seen images in the newspaper that show Berth III and the sea walk. When I saw that I said to myself, it would be wonderful to bring sea walk right up to the property, into the property and around it, integrate it into the property. That's one of the reasons that led us to sit down and talk with Southeast Stevedoring; they own the Taquan property and have been in negotiations with the City for a long time about building a private dock. They're in the last stages of negotiations at this time."
Hauck's enthusiasm had not waned as he said, "The bottom line is that I think the Waterfront Storage building and the adjoining property can tell a story, it can talk about the history of the site and it can speak about the people of Ketchikan and provide something for the [visitors]that come to Ketchikan."
When Hauck is home in California, he is on the internet daily and as he said, "I go on-line every day because I wanted to find out more about Ketchikan, what it's like, what drives this place. I read articles on Sitnews and I feel like I have a good sense of what this place is about. There's a huge amount of pride and a huge amount of people that care about their community and that's unique."
Unlike local residents that can take the charm and beauty of our town for granted, Hauck was zealous in his description, "When you get out on the water and look at the buildings on the hillside, these wonderful old homes that have all this color, it's gorgeous, it's a postcard, it's something you want to write about! When you're downtown and see Deer Mountain in the backdrop and you see the Welcome to Ketchikan arch, it's a story book place. I have a lot of passion built up about doing something with Waterfront Storage."
Informing the gathering, Hauck stated, "Very soon, Southeast Stevedoring will be completing their negotiations with the City and it will be at that point in time that we will bring the architect and site planner up and we'll sit down with the City and Southeast Stevedoring, look at the plans and break out those areas that will be appropriate for both buildings and transportation and all that will be involved for the development of the area."
Who could argue with Hauck when he said, "This will be a wonderful statement for the Newtown area and an opportunity to revitalize that whole area of town."
Hauck was far from done when he continued to describe his vision, "Another thing I think is a wonderful part of the Newtown area is Hopkins Alley. I thought wow, my architect friend Don could do a rendering of what this could look like! In fact, renderings were done 5 or 6 years ago in a study that was commissioned by the City. I said to myself, this can be a good as Creek Street, this can be yet another element for the City of Ketchikan."
"There are some buildings that I think need some impetus to get things moving forward, whereby there will be an opportunity for everyone to do something and bring the area up to a level that everyone can be proud of," Hauck added.
"I met a gentleman, David Rubin, at a Historic Ketchikan meeting a while back," Hauck said with a smile, "There I was talking about the vision I saw for Waterfront Storage when a big grin spread across Rubin's face. He handed me some drawings he had done probably 10 years ago and they were like a snapshot of what I saw for Waterfront Storage."
"I said David [Rubin], I love your passion, this is what it's all about, you need to have passion and have a great time doing it!" Hauck exclaimed.
"I think it's important to point out that the development of Waterfront Storage and the planning that will take place on that property as well as the Taquan property is NOT contingent upon the bond measure," Hauck proceeded. "I think there's an opportunity to provide for traffic flow, have a very romantic experience going from Newtown to Downtown or walking along the sea walk. I think this is an extraordinary development."
Hauck ended by expressing his feelings, "Another article that had an impact on me was from Jerry Cegelske (Code Enforcement Officer for Ketchikan Gateway Borough), in an editorial [Viewpoints] in Sitnews back in February. I'm a huge dreamer and I have a great imagination. We have a wonderful group of people that have the resources to go and create something that is wonderful, so I say, let the ideas come out and lets have some dialog."
Hauck was asked by this writer if he was considering a mega-story building or if he had considered contacting Nancy McNulty, owner of Talbot's in regards to purchasing her property as a way of spreading out rather than up. Hauck replied, "At present it seems to me that someone has indicated there is a height they would like to see not exceeded and it was 50 feet, to me that is very do-able."
In response to the inquiry regarding Talbot's, Hauck stated, "I wrote a check and sent it to Terry Wanzer (his broker) along with an earnest money agreement about a month ago and I essentially told Nancy [McNulty] that I was interested in purchasing her property and if she would give me a price I would consider it very seriously and would be willing to open escrow."
Hauck was able to joke with the audience when he related how he designed the business cards for his newly formed company, Ketchikan Packing L.L.C. "I have a business card with a fish on it. I know it's a King Salmon. I had to do a lot of research, I knew there were a few salmon, but I didn't realize how many!"
Barely over a hundred years old, Ketchikan has constantly evolved from before Newtown existed, to its development and on to its current state. Read any story about our town by local historians June Allen, Dave Kiffer, or articles by Historic Ketchikan or the Tongass Historical Society and one can clearly see the advantages Ketchikan has reaped from every new development.
Will Ketchikanites grab the goose that lays the golden egg? Will Ketchikanites appreciate that man who is willing to take such huge economical risks developing Newtown is also overwhelming concerned with the history that is held so dear? Will the vision become a reality? Only time will tell.
The Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce will be holding their weekly luncheon on Wednesday, March 22nd at the VFW on Tongass Avenue. Their invited guest speaker will be Tony Azure of the Boys and Girls Club.
On the Web:
For historic stories and information on Ketchikan:
A freelance writer is an uncommitted independent writer
who produces and sells articles to a publisher such as SitNews.
Contact Marie at mlmx1[at]hotmail.com