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Two parties want Kimberly-Clark site, which is due for deeper cleanup

EVERETT — The former Kimberly-Clark mill site has at least two suitors in a bidding war to turn the approximately 67-acre waterfront parcel into maritime use. The site is also being prepared for further clean up work.
Two parties — the Port of Everett, and a co-organization between maritime company Pacific Stevedoring and an undisclosed partner — are jockeying to buy the property from Kimberly-Clark. The asking price stands at $38 million, the same as it was four years ago.
Kimberly-Clark, meanwhile, has agreed to work with state and local agencies to remove remaining contaminants from the site.
The site along West Marine View Drive is sandwiched between Naval Station Everett and the Port of Everett.
Under terms of an order from the state Department of Ecology, Kimberly-Clark will remove about 120,000 cubic yards of crushed material — primarily brick, concrete and masonry from demolished mill buildings — that was used as fill after an initial cleanup in 2013. It will also plug more than 20 old pipes leaking groundwater offshore.
The City of Everett sued Kimberly-Clark in 2014, claiming the crushed material should have been covered with topsoil. Ecology subsequently detected toxins such as arsenic and lead in the exposed fill debris.
A plan submitted by Kimberly-Clark proposes removing the crushed material over 18 months. It would recycle as much of the material as possible, with most of the rest going to local landfills. Some of the crushed material, as determined suitable by the Department of Ecology, will be mixed with topsoil and reused as fill.
Public comment on the clean up plan runs through April 11. A public hearing about the proposed cleanup is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, May 16 on the eighth floor of Everett City Hall, 2930 Wetmore Ave.
Competing bidders
In 2016, Port of Everett commissioners voted to acquire the property by “any means necessary,” including eminent domain.
The Port is actively negotiating a purchase with Kimberly-Clark, said Lisa Lefeber, the port’s chief of policy and spokeswoman, last week.
Port commissioners envision the site as a maintenance shipyard for Navy ships and state ferries.
Sailors at Naval Station Everett “have suffered,” Lefeber said by email, “by being re-homeported and/or required to commute long
distances due to maintenance requirements of the vessels.”
An analysis of Port plans by the Concord Group estimates a shipyard would create 100 full-time jobs, and further potential uses ­—­ such as cold storage and warehousing, and advanced manufacturing and production — would swell that total to 961 within three years of Port acquisition.
By 2029, the Concord analysis projects 1,236 direct jobs at the site, producing about $2.7 million in annual tax revenue.
Rival bidder Pacific Stevedoring has leased about 20 acres of the property from Kimberly-Clark since 2017. The lease includes an option to buy, said Austin Hicks, a public affairs representative for the company.
Pacific Stevedoring is working with a maritime company, which Hicks declined to identify, to purchase the entire former mill site and transform it into a “maritime hub” that would create “a conservative estimate” of 800 full-time jobs. It would have a mix of offices, warehouses, a wharf and trucking facilities.
Hicks said the site could be operational within 18 months — the estimated span of the cleanup. It would be operated by Everett Storage and Terminals, a subsidiary of Pacific Stevedoring, along with its unnamed business partner.
“We’re excited that the cleanup process has reached an agreement,” Hicks said. “We’re looking forward to putting the Everett waterfront back to work.”
A Kimberly-Clark representative declined comment on sale negotiations.
“Our long-standing focus remains on helping the next generation of jobs to return to the site,” company spokesperson Terry Balluck said in an emailed statement.
Kimberly-Clark operated the pulp and paper mill from 1995 as part of acquiring Scott Paper until closing and demolishing the site in 2012. More than 700 workers lost their jobs when Kimberly-Clark shuttered the mill in 2012 after a deal to sell fell through in part due to environmental cleanup costs.
The City of Everett is remaining neutral about the future disposition of the property.
Meghan Pembroke, the city’s lead spokeswoman, said city officials are in discussions with Kimberly-Clark about resolving the lawsuit.
“Our focus remains on ensuring that the site is cleaned up, and encouraging Kimberly-Clark to do what it can to return family-wage jobs to the waterfront at the level we had when the mill closed,” Pembroke said.
“We are working hard to support the positive growth and activity that’s happening on our waterfront, including by encouraging redevelopment of the Kimberly-Clark property.”

Documents repository
To view documents in Ecology’s database associated with the proposed cleanup of the former Kimberly-Clark mill site, visit www.tinyurl.com/KCcleanup

  

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