The vessel is due to be delivered by March 1, 2019.
"This is a great first step in phasing out our smaller boats and replacing them with larger ones," said Ferry Division Director, Harold Thomas. "Eventually it will allow us to increase our capacity with the same number of scheduled trips."
The new ferry will be 183 feet long and have room for 38 regular-sized vehicles. It will serve as a replacement for the 22-year-old M/V Thomas A. Baum, a Hatteras-class ferry that carries 26 vehicles.
Once built, the new vessel will be the Ferry Division's first new car ferry since the M/V Sea Level which was christened in 2012 and also designed by Elliott Bay Design Group.