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The History of Fremont Dock Company

In 1975, Suzie Burke joined her two brothers, all working for J.R., running the Burke Industrial Center and Fremont Dock Company. One of Suzie’s primary duties, according to J.R., was to go out into the community and help Fremont recover from a few decades of decay.

One of the final real estate deals J.R. oversaw before his death in 1994 was his long-anticipated acquisition of the former Seattle Disposal property – the Trollybarn where Red Door and now Theo Chocolate were located. Also on the property was built the Burke Building. By this time, with both of her brothers moved on to their own enterprises and real-estate ventures, Suzie took over leadership of the company and expanded the holdings of Fremont Dock Company.

While both of Suzie’s daughters worked part-time for the company, in 2000 her son Mike Osterfeld came on full-time as Vice-President. Suzie continues her work within the community, making the Fremont neighborhood strong and a financially sound investment for businesses that lease the commercial and industrial spaces owned by Fremont Dock. Mike oversees tenant improvements, renovations and general upkeep of all the properties, all located within the community of Fremont.

Fremont Dock Company began in 1937 as Burke Millwork by J.R. Burke, the company moved to its location in Fremont in 1939 to have room to complete a big sash and door contract for the Yesler Housing Project. From 1958 – 1962, J.R. began a process of buying out his business partners and transforming the mill into an industrial park – renting the mill buildings, and building a few others, to industrial companies.

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