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Cover Story
Cruising Into Port Orchard
Custom yacht builder bringing 50 family wage jobs to town

Cover Story 2411: Steve Yadvish, owner Northcoast YachtsNorthcoast Yachts, a builder of custom yachts, has announced that it will relocate its operations from the Port of Tacoma to Port Orchard. Owner Steve Yadvish made the announcement at a press conference at Yachtfish Marine in Port Orchard, which he also owns. He has another Yachtfish boatyard on Lake Union in Seattle.

Yadfish purchased the assets of Northcoast in 2003, and reopened the company. “Everything was in place: the yard, the molds, the reputation, and even the workforce,” he stated. “I knew we could build beautiful yachts there — the equivalent of a Rolls Royce on the water.”

The firm’s latest vessel is a 125-foot motoryacht, which was one of the stars of the world-renowned, Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show, which took place in late October. The asking price is reportedly $18 million. The boat was built in Tacoma and shipped to South Florida for the show.

Northcoast Yachts coming to Port Orchard, WANorthcoast’s experience includes the design and construction of megayachts, high tech maxi boats, and high performance speedboats. Six renditions of its 85’ motoryacht were followed in 2006 by the first 87’ motoryacht.

After making the decision to leave Tacoma, Yadvish said he considered several other locations — primarily, Anacortes, Port Townsend, and Bellingham. He had been working with Senator Derek Kilmer, who is also vice president of the Economic Development Board of Tacoma-Pierce County, to try and stay in Pierce County. But when it became clear in early 2009 that a suitable location wasn’t going to be found there, Kilmer suggested that Northcoast take a serious look at Port Orchard.

“He told me the City had just elected an aggressively pro-business Mayor who had changed the City’s business climate into one that is extremely business-friendly,” explained Yadvish. “He connected me to Mayor Lary Coppola, and for two years we worked closely together to both close the deal to buy Dockside, as well as the relocation of Northcoast Yachts.”

Yadvish purchased Dockside Sales & Service on Port Orchard’s waterfront in 2009, with the idea of expanding the facility and the services offered, to include repairing and servicing yachts up to 100 feet long.

Plans are underway to expand the facility’s main pier to accommodate an 85-ton travel lift for lifting those huge mega-yachts out of the water. The big blue lift is already on site and just waiting for the actual pier construction to begin.

“That expansion has required us to jump through a number of environmental and regulatory hoops,” stated Yadvish, and he credited the City of Port Orchard, and it’s Planning and Engineering departments, with making compliance with the myriad of rules and regulations easier than expected.

“The City — led by the Mayor — who got personally involved very early on, became our partner in dealing with all the required federal, state, and tribal agencies, and the regulatory requirements necessary to permit both the major expansion we’ve already done here, as well as the continued expansion on this site we will undertake early next year,” he added.

“Instead of the typical, “Why it won’t work” mentality of most governments, I have really found Port Orchard’s “How to we make it happen, Can Do” attitude, extremely refreshing,” he said.

Yadvish stated that the company is currently considering several locations to set up shop. “I don’t want to tip our hand just yet, but I will say we are negotiating with several people for potential sites. We definitely have a preferred site in mind, and have ranked all the others in order of preference,” he said. “We will announce the exact location when the deal closes. But make no mistake, Northcoast Yachts is committed to moving its operations to Port Orchard.”

Once a site is purchased and the facility constructed. Yadvish said he expects to begin hiring in late 2012 or early 2013. The operation should initially crew up to about 50 people, with jobs paying in the $20 per hour and up ranges. In past years, with more than one yacht under construction, the company has employed as many as 125 people.

He also said the like Yachtfish, Northcoast is committed to buy as many of its supplies locally as it can, noting that Yachtfish is already doing business with a number of local firms. At full production of a single yacht, it is expected that the company will contribute about $7 million annually to the local economy.

He finished the press conference saying, “I want to thank Mayor Lary Coppola for his leadership on this. If it hadn’t been for his hard work and personal determination to make this a reality, we might have been making this announcement in another City.”

For more information on Northcoast Yachts, and to see pictures of yachts it’s built, visit www.northcoastyachts.com.

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