By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published June 27, 2012
Report names industries that could thrive on former mill site
EVERETT - The former Kimberly-Clark Mill site has the potential to become a shipyard, a biotech business park or a fish processing or bulk shipping site among other uses, according to an economic analysis.
Report author Greg Easton said the 66-acre site has many possibilities for reuse in a recently released economic analysis. Easton came to talk to the city’s planning commission last week about his findings.
The site has rail lines nearby, a big pier, deep water access for ships and is comparatively large — a set of amenities that make the site attractive to cargo shipping companies and boat builders, Easton said.
So far, the companies that have indicated interest in the site want the rail lines and deep water access, said Kimberly-Clark’s real estate broker Dave Speers, vice president of Kidder-Matthews. He did not identify any specific industry interested, but companies that don’t need the pier or rail line are less interested, Speers said.
Speers predicted a ship builder would be on the site while speaking before the planning commission. The ship building industry is growing and a good fit, Easton said.
Easton said the site would be great for breakbulk shipping, which is the business of shipping food and smaller goods. The site can’t compete with bigger ports in Tacoma, Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. for major shipping activity, Easton said. It isn’t big enough and the market would fill vacancies in Seattle first before eyeing Everett, he said.
The site’s waterfront access also could attract cruise ship operators. The cruise ship industry eagerly hopes to attract retiring baby boomers, Easton’s report notes.
The city is conducting an economic analysis to help it figure out what would be best for the site. The city has a moratorium on development while it works on a plan.
The next step is evaluating the economic benefits of some of the concepts being developed for the site. That will be discussed Tuesday, July 17 at 6:30 p.m. at a meeting in the Weyerhaueser Room at Everett Station.
In the past decade, most closed industrial sites became residential complexes, Easton reported. A handful kept industrial uses on site, but they were collections of industrial companies instead of one big plant.
Several groups are eyeing the site.
The Port of Everett is interested in the site. Two weeks ago, the city said it was looking at the site for a sewer overflow facility, but Easton’s report makes no mention of municipal uses.
The seafood processing industry would also make a good fit, according to the analysis.
Seafood processor Trident Seafoods is looking to expand in the Pacific Northwest, Easton said.
The city wants to keep the site industrial, but that can dovetail with many different industries. Green energy technology and boat building are two growing industries, Easton reported.
Easton’s report analyzed the wages and number of jobs certain industries would generate in comparison to the Kimberly-Clark Mill.
The average Kimberly-Clark employee made about $77,000 a year and there were 750 workers at the mill when closing proceedings began. Cargo shippers would make about that much in wages, but a cargo shipping company would have a lot less people working there.
Green technology companies could double or triple the number of employees working at the site, and employees would generally have higher wages.
Whatever gets built on the site can’t interfere with Naval Station Everett’s activities next door, city planner Dave Koenig said previously.
The impact on the base is not discussed in Easton’s report.