Kimberly-Clark mill demolition behind schedule

EVERETT — Expect the dismantling of the Kimberly-Clark’s former waterfront mill to rumble on through the end of May.

That’s a couple of months longer than earlier estimates, which had demolition wrapping up this month.

“Between now and then, the demo work will focus on removal of slabs (and) foundations, along with general clearing and grading of the site,” said Bob Brand, a spokesman for Dallas-based Kimberly-Clark Corp. “We don’t expect the revised schedule to impact our marketing efforts, which remain ongoing.”

Kimberly-Clark closed down its pulp and paper plant last year, after failing to find a buyer. More than 700 people lost jobs.

The tear-down has been ongoing since summer. Some of the most visible buildings were toppled in January.

The spectacle has drawn wide interest from onlookers, who often gather at a nearby pedestrian bridge.

“I never believed that Kimberly-Clark would be our No. 1 tourist attraction,” Mayor Ray Stephanson joked at a fundraiser earlier this month.

Cambria Contracting, Inc., of Lockport, N.Y., has been performing the demolition.

By Thursday, most of the site had been reduced to pulverized piles of brick and concrete, along with tangles of rebar. That’s left an unobstructed view of the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier from parts of West Marine View Drive.

After clearing away the debris, the plan is to grade and seed the land, Brand said.

Crews will leave the large, beige warehouse building standing at the south end of the site, he said. Whoever buys the property would decide whether it stays.

In January, Everett City Council voted to zone much of the site for water-dependent industrial development, a decision that pins the area’s future to blue-collar jobs.

That’s provided some clarity about the value of the 66-acre property, which Seattle real estate firm Kidder Mathews has been trying to sell since last year.

“I’m discussing purchase of the entire site with several prospects,” Dave Speers, a Kidder Mathews senior vice president, said Thursday.

Non-disclosure agreements prevent the firm from naming interested buyers. The Port of Everett, however, has been on record as eyeing the property for future expansion. The Port’s terminal is on property immediately to the south.

Along with redevelopment, steps must be to be taken to decontaminate the site. The state and Kimberly-Clark in December agreed to a cleanup plan, much of which deals with removing petroleum products from the land.

Within a month, the state expects to receive more details about soil and groundwater pollution there, said Andy Kallus, a project manager with the Department of Ecology.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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