Ratifying a little bit of aloha spirit in West Seattle – Marination Ma Kai at Seacrest Boathouse

Home » Ratifying a little bit of aloha spirit in West Seattle – Marination Ma Kai at Seacrest Boathouse

This week in committee we’ll be looking at a six-year concessions agreement between DPR and Marination LLC (C.B. 117704) to manage and operate the Marination restaurant and boat and recreation equipment rental facility at Seacrest Park – a hidden jewel in West Seattle.

Photo of Marination Ma Kai patio last fall from the West Seattle Blog, a great resource for all things West Seattle.

Marination Ma Kai (which means, in Hawaiian, in the direction of the sea, as opposed to mauka, which means in the direction of the mountains – very Hawaiian navigational fixtures) has been open since October, bringing shave ice, kalua pork, and other island delicacies to West Seattle, but it will be great to have the lease formally in place.

Marination also operates a food truck in Capitol Hill, which they’ve been doing for more than five years, generating a great reputation and a dedicated following.


Since the 1980s, when Parks renovated the current building with help from King County Metro mitigation, the boathouse has been managed by other parties who’ve had experience with food service and boathouse. Whenever term of one lease ends, Parks sends out a Request for Proposal (RFP).

Prior to Marination, Seacrest was managed by Alki Crab and Fish Company, who responded successfully to an RFP process in 1999.

The latest RFP was advertised on August 31, 2011, with proposals due on October 7, 2011. Three companies submitted proposals: Alki Crab and Fish, Marination LLC, and Cowboyz. City evaluators scored the proposals based on established criteria and interviewed the top two applicants, Marination LLC and Alki Crab & Fish. The evaluation panel unanimously selected Marination LLC, a Women and Minority Business Enterprise, as the proposal that was best for the City.

The Marination proposal included significant capital improvements, many of which Marination has already made: expanding and upgrading the kitchen, adding an interior restroom, upgrading the electrical system, painting the exterior and dressing up the interior. These improvements don’t cost the public a dime but result in a significant public benefit.

All parties concerned had hoped to have Marination open last summer, but as a result of DPD’s decision to seek official restaurant status for the site, as well as the impact of some of the capital improvements, which meant the project had to go through a Department of Ecology permitting process as well as the city’s, the restaurant’s grand opening was delayed until October.

We’re so glad to have them there, with their bright colored patio and aloha spirit. (Although we haven’t heard anything about kama ‘aina prices.)

The agreement has an initial term of six years with an option for another five years at the discretion of the City. We look forward to a long partnership with this women-owned business.

Here are some highlights to the lease agreement:

  • Rent:  6.5 % of Gross Receipts less sales tax through June 30 2013 and then it goes up to 10% of Gross Receipts less any sales tax for the remaining term of agreement. Parks estimates that the City will collect a minimum of $300,000 over the 6 year period of the term.
  • Tenant Capital Investment: Marination will make a minimum investment of $150,000 in initial capital improvements to the Seacrest Building. City will retain all permanent improvements when the agreement expires.
  • Maintenance:  Marination will provide routine maintenance and pay for utilities that it will use for the operation of their operation.  Estimated savings to Parks is $60,000 over a six year period. The City will provide standard major maintenance.
  • Public Benefit: Providing high quality restaurant food and beverage services at a heavily used popular City park. The income generated stays within DPR to support other programs and services. 

This is a great example of public private partnerships where all parties truly benefit. Mahalo!