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Port secures deal to acquire former Kimberly-Clark mill site

EVERETT — Land negotiations for the former Kimberly-Clark mill site on the waterfront will now be exclusively with the Port of Everett, which has stifled a competing bidder by arranging a purchase and sale agreement for the site.
The port is making a $33 million purchase and sale agreement for 58 acres of the former mill site and a separate 19-acre parcel north of the Jetty Island boat launch.
The port says the deal could conclude by year’s end.
As part of it, contamination at the former mill site and adjacent waterway will get cleaned up. If it closes, the deal puts the site on a trajectory to becoming active again. The mill closed in 2012.
The port wants to use the deepwater site to expand its terminal in part to be able to accept larger ships. It intends to use the northern land to create a public beach.
The port said in a news release that Kimberly-Clark will provide the Port with a $17 million credit to address environmental impairments in the 12 acres of tidelands in the East Waterway. That work would begin next year.
The port’s new agreement snuffs out a vision by a fishing company and a seafood packaging company that had a joint purchase-and-sale agreement for the site. The two companies wanted to use the site for a warehouse, a seafood processing plant, and to create a working wharf.
This summer, the port condemned the former mill site by eminent domain. Opponents criticized that the port made a power play.
The deal’s terms also would kill a lease held by the fishing vessel company for 20 acres of the mill site, according to the port.
Separately, the City of Everett closed on 8.5 acres of the site to meet some stormwater requirements. The city’s land buy had a provision to end its lawsuit against Kimberly-Clark over site conditions.
“I am thrilled to see that negotiations have led to a Purchase and Sale Agreement, which not only ensures that the former mill site is cleaned up, but also paves the way for job growth on our working waterfront,” Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin said in a news release from the port.
Her predecessor, former mayor Ray Stephanson, had supported the concept offered by the competitors and said their operations would diversify Everett’s economy.
At a June hearing before the port agreed to condemnation, numerous labor union representatives spoke up against the port’s condemnation plan. They argued the plan for a wharf and warehouses shows a plan for jobs now, and the port won’t reactivate the site quickly.
The port disagreed, and coveted the site as a crucial opportunity to expand operations.
On top of this, the port has highlighted the site requires high security because Naval Station Everett lies adjacent to the site.
“The Port plans to provide near-term and long-term job growth which is the key to resolving the site’s impairments and putting this strategic maritime asset back into productive use,” Port Commissioner Glen Bachman said in a news release.
Losing the Kimberly-Clark mill in 2012 meant losing 700 waterfront jobs.

In other news
The port is negotiating to have a shipyard operation lease space on port property, the port announced at its meeting last week. The company is owned by an affiliate of Nickels Brothers Boat Builders.



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