[Maritime Week / Bell Street Pier]


Journal staff reporter

SEATTLE -- Starting next year, it may not be unusual to see workers wearing raingear and smelling faintly of fish hanging around the Bell Street Pier.

The Fishin' Place, a new 22,000-square-foot seafood processing plant scheduled to open in January 1997, will employ about 100 people. Local residents and tourists will be able to watch them work through large windows and from catwalks inside the plant.

The plant also will feature interactive kiosks describing the seafood harvesting process and a test kitchen where visitors can sample seafood products.

Unlike seafood processing plants in Alaska that have frenetic work schedules during peak fishing seasons and become ghost towns during other parts of the year, The Fishin' Place will provide regular, steady employment.

"This will be a year-round facility," said Assen Nicolov, chairman and president of Oceantrawl Inc., the Seattle-based fishing fleet operator and processor that is building the new factory. "We're very excited about it. We believe we'll have a lot of future traffic from the new museum and restaurant at the pier."

This will be Oceantrawl's first processing plant on land. Oceantrawl operates three large factory trawlers

Seafood products processed at the plant will be sold at The Fishin' Place stores at the Bell Street Pier and throughout Washington and Oregon.

The first The Fishin' Place store is being built now in Bellevue. Construction should be completed this fall before operations start at the seafood processing plant, Nicolov said.

"We do intend to build others," he said.

Right now, the shell of the future processing plant is up, but the building is empty. The remaining construction will be completed throughout 1996. The architectural firm working on the project is Abbott Heys and Associates. The general contractor is Krekow Jennings Inc., and the interior designer is Rocky Rochon.

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