Kimberly-Clark Site on Everett Waterfront Sold to Owners of Foss Maritime

October 2, 2013

Everett Economy, Everett Jobs

Foss Maritime will relocate from Seattle to Everett

The former mill site is set to become a shipyard and marine operations center.

Six decades ago Foss tug boats were a common site on the Everett waterfront, hauling wood chips to the Scott paper mill. Today the owners of Foss Maritime announced they’ve signed an agreement to buy the former Scott Paper site, which was most recently owned by Kimberly-Clark, and will relocate and expand their shipyard and maritime operations to Everett along with 250 jobs. “We spent a lot of time in Everett back in the 50s,” said Paul Queary a spokesman for Saltchuk, the parent company of Foss. “This is more of a coming back to Everett.” Queary says they hope the deal will close in the 2nd quarter of 2014. Here’s the official press release…

Everett, Wash. – Saltchuk announces that it has signed a Purchase and Sales Agreement with Kimberly-Clark to buy a 66-acre property on the Everett waterfront, formerly home to Kimberly-Clark’s pulp mill and tissue plant.

The deal will initially bring approximately 250 skilled, family-wage jobs to the Everett waterfront and create a thriving/vital shipbuilding and maritime industry in the heart of Everett. There is a strong potential to create additional jobs at the site in the future. Saltchuk, a second generation Northwest-based, family-owned business, employs 6,500 people nationwide, with 800 in the Puget Sound region. Through its subsidiary operating companies, Saltchuk’s Pacific Northwest presence includes Foss Maritime Company, the largest domestic tug and barge company on the Pacific Rim, Totem Ocean Trailer Express, a Tacoma based shipping company with regularly scheduled service to Alaska, and Interstate Distributor, a national trucking company.

We are pleased to come to an agreement with Kimberly-Clark that will increase our presence in the North Sound and bring good jobs to Everett, said Mark Tabbutt, Chairman of Saltchuk. “We see tremendous opportunity and potential for further growth at the Everett site, a deep water port with unrestricted waterways. And we believe the redevelopment of this site as a shipyard and maritime complex will contribute a vital economic base to the Everett community.”

This is a win-win for Everett and our economic future. We are very excited to have a successful, thriving maritime company choose Everett to be its new shipbuilding headquarters, said Mayor Ray Stephanson of Everett. “Foss Maritime will bring family-wage, highly skilled jobs back to the Kimberly Clark site. The company will be a tremendous asset to the community and redevelopment of the site will generate additional opportunities in the future.”

The Everett Mill site is a unique and special property and we received strong interest throughout the marketing process, said Len Anderson, director, real estate for Kimberly-Clark. “We are pleased that Saltchuk emerged as the successful bidder because they are the type of prospect we were hoping to attract, a well-respected company that will bring jobs and economic vitality back to that section of the Everett waterfront. We look forward to working with Saltchuk over the coming months to successfully close the transaction.”

Work remains to be done to close the deal. The purchase and sales agreement calls for a four-month due diligence period, followed by adequate time to close the transaction. If all goes as planned, the sale will close early in the second quarter of 2014.

Saltchuk will be developing the site plan for the property as well as working with local, state and federal officials to determine the permits required to develop the site in a way that fits its needs. Kimberly-Clark will continue its early action to clean-up the site and hopes to further accelerate its work with the Department of Ecology to develop the final remediation plan for the site.

The existing Foss Maritime yard in Seattle, located inside the Ballard Locks, is not accessible to larger ships and is too small for future expansion, making the larger, salt-water site in Everett a more attractive long-term option, Tabbutt noted. Work on current ship-building projects in Seattle will continue at that location over the next several years. The headquarters offices for Saltchuk and Foss Maritime will remain in Seattle.

Foss’ relationship with the site dates back to the early 1950s when Foss delivered barges of wood chips to the Scott Paper mill (which was acquired later by Kimberly-Clark). Kimberly-Clark and its predecessors operated paper pulp and tissue mills at the site from 1931 – 2012. Foss was founded by Thea Foss in Tacoma in 1889.

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