By Jack Stubbs
Everett, Snohomish County’s largest city, has, over the last few months, seen an increasing interest in a revitalization of the waterfront and historic deep-port facilities, with public-private partnerships and investors alike looking to capitalize on an especially desirable area.
On December 6th, the Port of Everett acquired a roughly 58,000 square foot commercial building—the Harbor Marine Maintenance & Supply Store—for $9.8 million from Norton Industries, Inc. based in Covington, WA, Snohomish County records show.
The property, located at 1020, 1032, 1104 10th St. and 1028 W Marine View Drive, was constructed in 1985, and sits in close proximity to the former Kimberly-Clark Mill site, which The Port has had its eye on for some time now. In October 2019, the Port of Everett Commission unanimously authorized Port CEO Lisa Lefeber to enter into a $33 million Purchase-and-Sale Agreement with Kimberly-Clark Corporation for the acquisition of 58 acres of the former mill site for maritime development and 19 acres of tidelands north of the boat launch for river management and public access.
As part of the agreement, Kimberly-Clark plans to conduct cleanup and removal of materials using methods approved by the State of Washington’s Department of Ecology; in turn, the Port agreed to support the project efforts by providing clean-fill material and backfilling the site as part of an effort that is expected to be complete by late 2020.
According to an independent economic impact study conducted earlier this summer, the Port’s underway transformation of the Kimberly-Clark mill site—which provided 700 direct jobs up until its closure in 2012—would support more than 950 direct jobs and 700 indirect jobs. Additionally, through various public-private partnerships around the waterfront, the Port has more than $450 million in investment complete in the past five years or currently underway.
“As a steward of our natural deep-water assets and economic prosperity, the Port has a responsibility to secure this vacant property to assure support for international trade and the needs of our public partners now and into the future,” Port Commissioner Glen Bachman said, following the release of the impact study earlier this year. “The Port plans to provide near-term and long-term job growth which is the key to resolving site’s impairments and putting this strategic maritime asset back into productive use.”
Another such example of activity occurring on Everett’s waterfront is the in-the-works Grand Avenue Park Bridge, a collaborative effort between LMN Architects, civil engineer KPFF, and City of Everett Parks & Recreation department, among other project partners. The 275-foot public infrastructure project will ultimately connect the Grand Avenue Park bluff near 16th St. with a land pointing point on the Port of Everett’s property—nearing completion towards the end of 2019, the pedestrian bridge further strengthen the relationship between downtown Everett and the waterfront, which continues to be a hub for development and investment activity.
“The Port is in the midst of waterfront redevelopment and creating a neighborhood down there which is a mixed-use development of residential housing, restaurants, public access, spaces and so forth,” Lefeber said. “The opportunity have connectivity between the bluff and the waterfront will enhance that neighborhood.”
Another undertaking is the Port’s 65-acre Waterfront Place project—which will require $85 million in public upland infrastructure from the Port and $550 million in private investment, according to the company’s web site—is expected to support 2,075 family-wage jobs and private development will generate $8.6 million annually in state and local sales taxes. The mixed-use project, which is scheduled to be complete in mid-2020, will include up to 660 units of condo and apartment housing, a 142-room waterfront hotel, 400,000 square feet of office and commercial space, 60,000 square feet of retail and 3,200 surface parking stalls.