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Work in progress

Kenai Landing starting to shape up

Posted: Monday, June 21, 2004

Kenai Landing has a new opening date: the Fourth of July weekend.

The resort planned to be open by the middle of this month, but below-freezing late-winter weather and other difficulties delayed construction on the project.

Construction crews have been working for months to transform the 65-acre, 90-plus-year-old Ward's Cove cannery complex into a multiuse resort. The developers have extensive plans for the site but are focusing on three core attractions: lodging, a large restaurant and an indoor marketplace-style mall.

"We're madly trying to get construction done and get open," said Dan Van Zee, who recently was hired as facilities and marketing manager.

Thursday morning, construction workers including half a dozen Peninsula Oilers hired for the summer were fitting doors and painting window frames in the old main warehouse that's being turned into the marketplace-style mall. Twenty-five spaces for retail shops line the walls of the bottom floor of the long, rectangular building.

To retain a warehouse feel, the shops will be partially faced with corrugated sheet metal. Vendor carts and market-style booths are planned to run down the center of the floor.

 

Peninsula Oiler Eric Butkiewicz of Plainville, Conn., paints a window frame in the market warehouse. Half a dozen Oilers are working construction at Kenai Landing for the summer.

Photo by Mark Harrison

Nearly half the shop space has been claimed by a diverse group of vendors trafficking in everything from slippers to the human spirit, including Silver Fox Slippers, Evenson Art Gallery, Alaska Horn and Antler, Sweeney's Clothing and Body, Mind & Spirit.

If the market warehouse is as successful as is hoped, the plan is to renovate the second floor of the building to match the first.

"We have a second floor to develop eventually that's equally as big, so we can duplicate the downstairs," Van Zee said. "But that's a couple years out."

Although several toilets were sitting outside the entrance to the cannery's old women's dormitory called the Hen House waiting to be installed, renovation of the dozen guest rooms inside is nearly complete. Many of the rooms retain their original dimensions, which means they're on the cozy side.

Rooms also are being renovated in the Machinists' Bunkhouse. A total of about 30 rooms initially will be available for lodging, as well as a three-room house for families or larger parties. More buildings are planned to be turned into lodging at a later date.

Construction crews were laying hardwood flooring in the old cannery's fish processing warehouse, which is being turned into Sockeyes Restaurant. Much of the old cannery equipment and materials are being incorporated into the renovations throughout the resort. Some materials have been harvested and used for new purposes. The restaurant's bar, for instance, is faced with old, cleaned-up floor planks.

"We took the deck planking and power washed them," Van Zee said.

Other cannery equipment has been left in place and intact. The extensive metal-wheel pulley apparatus that, with the help of belts and a steam engine, ran the fish processing line has been left in place in the ceiling of the main dining room of the restaurant as decoration.

To help retain some of the look and feel of the old cannery, one of the steam engines that powered the cannery equipment has been cleaned up and put on display in the promenade area between the warehouse market and the restaurant.

"We're trying to maintain as much of an historical look as we can," Van Zee said.

Visitors who wish to get a bite to eat will have the choice of dine-in or carry-out at Sockeyes.

"We have two types of restaurants in one," said Joe Conte, director of food and beverage.

The restaurant will offer indoor table service for 100 and a take-out counter, which will offer express service from Sockeyes' full menu.

"If it's a nice day, you can take your food out and sit in the pavilion," Conte said.

Copper River Seafoods is gearing up to process Kenai Wild Brand salmon on site in the old ice house and will supply Sockeyes with fresh salmon and other seafood on the restaurant's menu.

The bar will offer a full selection of beverages but will feature in-state breweries when it comes to beer.

"Our tap system will be all Alaska beers," Conte said.

Design plans for facilities at Kenai Landing are still in progress and construction is scheduled to continue through the summer. Even facilities open this summer may still be undergoing some construction.

"We hope the public will have patience with us," Conte said.

Kenai Landing is slated to stay open this season through mid-October, then remain open year-round beginning next summer.

Peninsula Oiler Eric Butkiewicz of Plainville, Conn., paints a window frame in the market warehouse. Half a dozen Oilers are working construction at Kenai Landing this summer.

Kenai Landing starting to shape up

Work in progress

Photos by Mark Harrison

Workers put the finishing touches on the ceiling of Sockeyes Restaurant at Kenai Landing. Construction crews are working to complete renovations on several buildings at Ward's Cove cannery in time for the resort's planned opening the first weekend in July.

By MARK HARRISON

Peninsula Clarion

Kenai Landing has a new opening date: the Fourth of July weekend.

The resort planned to be open by the middle of this month, but below-freezing late-winter weather and other difficulties delayed construction on the project.

Construction crews have been working for months to transform the 65-acre, 90-plus-year-old Ward's Cove cannery complex into a multiuse resort. The developers have extensive plans for the site but are focusing on three core attractions: lodging, a large restaurant and an indoor marketplace-style mall.

"We're madly trying to get construction done and get open," said Dan Van Zee, who recently was hired as facilities and marketing manager.

Thursday morning, construction workers including half a dozen Peninsula Oilers hired for the summer were fitting doors and painting window frames in the old main warehouse that's being turned into the marketplace-style mall. Twenty-five spaces for retail shops line the walls of the bottom floor of the long, rectangular building.

To retain a warehouse feel, the shops will be partially faced with corrugated sheet metal. Vendor carts and market-style booths are planned to run down the center of the floor.

Nearly half the shop space has been claimed by a diverse group of vendors trafficking in everything from slippers to the human spirit, including Silver Fox Slippers, Evenson Art Gallery, Alaska Horn and Antler, Sweeney's Clothing and Body, Mind & Spirit.

If the market warehouse is as successful as is hoped, the plan is to renovate the second floor of the building to match the first.

"We have a second floor to develop eventually that's equally as big, so we can duplicate the downstairs," Van Zee said. "But that's a couple years out."

Although several toilets were sitting outside the entrance to the cannery's old women's dormitory called the Hen House waiting to be installed, renovation of the dozen guest rooms inside is nearly complete. Many of the rooms retain their original dimensions, which means they're on the cozy side.

Rooms also are being renovated in the Machinists' Bunkhouse. A total of about 30 rooms initially will be available for lodging, as well as a three-room house for families or larger parties. More buildings are planned to be turned into lodging at a later date.

Construction crews were laying hardwood flooring in the old cannery's fish processing warehouse, which is being turned into Sockeyes Restaurant. Much of the old cannery equipment and materials are being incorporated into the renovations throughout the resort. Some materials have been harvested and used for new purposes. The restaurant's bar, for instance, is faced with old, cleaned-up floor planks.

"We took the deck planking and power washed them," Van Zee said.

Other cannery equipment has been left in place and intact. The extensive metal-wheel pulley apparatus that, with the help of belts and a steam engine, ran the fish processing line has been left in place in the ceiling of the main dining room of the restaurant as decoration.

To help retain some of the look and feel of the old cannery, one of the steam engines that powered the cannery equipment has been cleaned up and put on display in the promenade area between the warehouse market and the restaurant.

"We're trying to maintain as much of an historical look as we can," Van Zee said.

Visitors who wish to get a bite to eat will have the choice of dine-in or carry-out at Sockeyes.

"We have two types of restaurants in one," said Joe Conte, director of food and beverage.

The restaurant will offer indoor table service for 100 and a take-out counter, which will offer express service from Sockeyes' full menu.

"If it's a nice day, you can take your food out and sit in the pavilion," Conte said.

Copper River Seafoods is gearing up to process Kenai Wild Brand salmon on site in the old ice house and will supply Sockeyes with fresh salmon and other seafood on the restaurant's menu.

The bar will offer a full selection of beverages but will feature in-state breweries when it comes to beer.

"Our tap system will be all Alaska beers," Conte said.

Design plans for facilities at Kenai Landing are still in progress and construction is scheduled to continue through the summer. Even facilities open this summer may still be undergoing some construction.

"We hope the public will have patience with us," Conte said.

Kenai Landing is slated to stay open this season through mid-October, then remain open year-round beginning next summer.



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