Freshy’s Fish Market coming to Mercer Island

A market offering fresh, local fish will move into the long-abandoned Union 76 gas station.

After more than three years, the old Union 76 station at the base of the S.E. 24 Street Hill across from Aljoya will have a new tenant. Bryce Caldwell, a third-generation fisherman, is planning to open a business to sell fresh, locally caught seafood. The business, to be called Freshy’s Seafood Market, will offer fresh fish caught off the Washington coast in Willapa Bay by Caldwell’s family firm, Blue Heron Seafood. The estuary at Willapa Bay is considered to be one of the most pristine estuaries in the United States and is protected as a national wildlife refuge.

Caldwell said that the former gas station building will remain the same size. The underground fuel tanks have already been decommissioned. The market will have a 3,000-gallon live fish tank. Caldwell is working through the permits with the city now and hopes to open the new market by mid-July.

The old Union 76 station at the bottom of the S.E. 24th Street hill at 76th Avenue S.E. has been boarded up and surrounded by a chain-link fence since late 2006.

In December 2005, Suncor Holdings Inc., a fuel distributor, purchased the property from Conoco Philips for over $800,000. But just three years before, in February 2002, the Tosco Corporation bought the station from the Pazis Association for a price of $1.2 million.