EVERETT, Wash. -- Like his mother before him, who cooked up liqueurs in her kitchen in Sweden, John Lundin tends to the kettles in his Everett distillery.

Lundin's 100% organic Bluewater Distilling is among the very first tenants at the Port of Everett's new Waterfront Place development. It's a risky venture for any start-up, but especially so at Waterfront Place, where the first phase of the development was supposed to have been done in 2009. Now, it's closer to 2018.

"I think it's just part of the entrepreneurial journey of risk taking," said Lundin.

Funding problems and the Great Recession pushed the project back nearly a decade. Now, however, backers say the money is there, the city council has signed off, and the project is moving forward. Hotels, condos, retail, restaurants and parks are all on the way. The footprint is the size of Seattle Center, home to the Space Needle.

"I think the stars are finally aligned for the Port of Everett," said the Port's Terrie Battuello. "And I think this project is going to be a star for Everett neighborhoods."

John Lundin certainly hopes so.

After toughing it out for more than two years as one of the development's few tenants, he's now laying the foundation for the future. This week workers began pouring concrete for Bluewater's 6,000 square foot expansion into a distillery, cocktail bar and restaurant. He believes the future is finally on solid ground.

"It's a huge leap of faith," he said. "We're self-financing. It's a big leap, but we have the community's support."

The first phase of Waterfront Place is expected to be complete by 2018. The entire development should be done within a decade.