Australian boatbuilder near deal to lease Washington state site

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An Australian boatbuilding company is poised to make a deal with the Port of Bellingham, Wash., to lease a manufacturing site on the Fairhaven waterfront.

Shirley McFearin, the port's real estate development manager, told the Bellingham Herald newspaper that Aluminum Boats Australia hopes to set up shop in a 30,000-square-foot space that Aluminum Chambered Boats occupied before that company ceased operations in November 2010.

The firm would do business in Bellingham as Aluminum Boats America Ltd.

A five-year lease agreement will be discussed at a meeting next week. The agreement gives the company 30 days to study the final terms of the deal before it commits, but McFearin said she is confident that the firm will set up shop in Bellingham.

The company builds 80-to-100-foot catamaran-style boats used for tourism and passenger ferries, among other things. It expects to have a work force of 25 that could be larger if things go well.

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