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May 01, 2014

Saltchuk says deal is off to buy 66-acre site for Foss in Everett

Daily Journal of Commerce

Journal Staff

A deal has fallen through to sell the 66-acre Kimberly-Clark Corp. pulp and paper plant site in Everett to Seattle-based Saltchuk, the companies said Wednesday.

Saltchuk had planned to move Foss shipyard there from its current location on the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

The deal was announced last October.

The parties now say they are unable to agree on how to allocate the risks and responsibilities for soil stability, and seismic and environmental conditions.

The purchase-and-sale agreement had been expected to close early in the second quarter this year.

"We're disappointed it didn't work out," said Emily Reiter, communications director for Saltchuk. Reiter said the company plans to keep the shipyard where it is for now.

"We're open to possibilities," she said, "but we're not seeking a new site."

The shipyard focuses on constructing fishing vessels, but some vessels the company wants to build are too big to fit through the Ballard Locks. There is also no room for expansion on the current site.

Reiter said the company has no plans now to make changes to its facilities. The plan after acquiring the Everett site was to continue the Seattle shipyard operations for several years to complete ongoing projects.

Bob Brand, a spokesman for Dallas-based Kimberly-Clark, said his company will put the Everett site back on the market almost immediately.

"We're confident we'll find a buyer," he said.

Kidder Mathews and Binswanger are co-brokering the property.

Demolition of the plant buildings was completed nearly a year ago.

Brand said Saltchuk's concerns regarding the property were unique to its plans for a shipyard and terminal.

Kimberly-Clark has been doing an environmental cleanup on the property, and is working toward a final remediation order from the state Department of Ecology.

The Everett property has more than 2,500 feet of deep-water industrial shoreline. About 55 acres are uplands and 11 acres are fee-owned submerged lands.

Saltchuk is a family-owned group of shipping and logistics companies that includes Foss, Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Interstate Distributor Co., North Star Petroleum and Northern Aviation Services.

© 2014 Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce

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