Everett, Wash. – Today, the Port of Everett Commission unanimously authorized Port CEO Lisa Lefeber to enter into a 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.
The negotiated sales price for the 77 acres, 31 of which are tidelands, is $33 million. As part of the agreement, Kimberly-Clark will conduct the upland cleanup work and removal of the crushed materials using methods approved by the State of Washington’s Department of Ecology. The Port will support this effort by providing Kimberly-Clark with clean fill material, not including transportation, to backfill the site after the crushed material is removed. This work will be mobilized no later than April 1, 2020; and complete no later than the end of 2020.
Additionally, 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. Further, no existing site leases will carry forward with the acquisition.
“I am very pleased the Port and Kimberly-Clark were able to reach a negotiated agreement,” Port of Everett CEO Lisa Lefeber said. “Our respective teams did amazing work in a short amount of time to make this very complex land transaction come together. This property is critical to support our working waterfront for decades to come, and we will continue to work expeditiously to restore family wage jobs to the site, enhance trade and ensure compatible land use with Naval Station Everett.”
The former Kimberly-Clark mill site is in the heart of the Port’s federally-secure, urban deep-water maritime complex. It has been under significant growth pressure, and the protection of port operations is mission critical to the Port and the area’s economic stability.
“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,” City of Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin said.
The parties reached terms through negotiation under threat of condemnation. The sale is expected to close no later than the end of the year.
PORT COMMISSION REACTION
“Bringing the vacant mill site back to life in a way that creates hundreds of jobs, protects the interests of our County’s only urban deep-water maritime complex and facilitates cleanup of legacy contamination were the Port’s top priorities with this site. I am pleased we were able to reach an agreement that ensured all three priorities will be achieved.”
— Port Commissioner Tom Stiger
“The finalization of the Purchase and Sale Agreement for the Kimberly-Clark property is a great day for the citizens of the Port of Everett. It is the culmination of staff’s fortitude of working through the process to complete this very complex deal. With public ownership, this secures the property for many years to come supporting maritime commerce, development, international trade as well as supporting the Department of Defense.
— Port Commissioner Bruce Fingarson
“As a steward of our natural deep-water assets and economic prosperity, the Port had 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. 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
“We appreciate the work of numerous officials who helped to form this agreement. For nearly 100 years, Kimberly-Clark had a presence in this city, and through this agreement, we can help ensure that the next generation of jobs can return to the site.”
– Lisa Morden, VP of Safety and Sustainability, Kimberly-Clark
DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY REACTION
“The Department is pleased that the parties have reached an agreement. This is a win for both the community and the environment. The Department will work with both parties to ensure that the waterfront restoration continues.”
– Jim Pendowski, Head of Ecology’s Cleanup Programs
KIMBERLY-CLARK PROPERTY ACQUISITION & CONDEMNATION BACKGROUND
The Port has been consistent since the mill closed in 2012 that its top priorities were to restore the jobs lost because of the mill closure, support maritime job growth on the site, and ensure the ongoing success and protection of this public resource for international trade facilities and Naval Station Everett. In 2013, the City of Everett, after a significant review and public process determined the highest and best use of the site was for urban deep-water Port and maritime jobs.
Over the years, there have been many private attempts to acquire the property, but each transaction failed to meet the environmental and financial requirement to put a contaminated site back into productive use. After nearly two years of negotiations without success, the Port made its intentions known in May 2019 to consider a condemnation action on the property. In May, the City of Everett closed on 8.5 acres of the site to meet its stormwater requirements, bringing the available land for acquisition to 58 acres.
On June 4, the Port Commission unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the Port to utilize its eminent domain authority to acquire the vacant Kimberly-Clark mill site. The Commission believed it was in the best public interest to retain this deep-water resource in public ownership to support maritime commerce, economic development, international trade and support to the Department of Defense and other branches of the U.S. government.
The Port Commission stated during deliberations on the action that this property is a prime example why the Washington State Legislature created the Port Districts Act in 1911. The creation of this act, and the Port a few short years later was a reaction to the private domination of docks and harbors that were critical to the trade-dependent state’s economy. The urban deep-water Port is a key public facility that should be open to all types of commerce.
The Commission believed that as a steward of our natural deep-water assets and economic prosperity, the Port had 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. The Port has a track record for bringing jobs and restoring environmentally impaired property. The Port’s trade facilities support more than 35,000 family-wage jobs (average salary of $86,703) in the region and $373 million in state and local taxes. The strategic maritime assets in the urban deep-water Port have attracted, and continue to attract, major industries to Snohomish County, making it the most trade-dependent county in Washington state. Nearly 60% of the jobs in Snohomish County are tied to trade, and the Port’s customs district supported more than $21 BILLION in U.S. exports in 2017 alone. The Port’s plan for the Kimberly-Clark property are 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.