Port of Everett to vote on lease of waterfront mill site

EVERETT — Private development projects in the early stages could bring hundreds of family-wage jobs to an industrial park owned by the Port of Everett.

Port commissioners are expected to approve Tuesday a long-term lease for the last available 10 acres of industrial land at Riverside Business Park.

The proposed agreement is with Latitude Development of Auburn, which already has a lease on about 11 acres, where initial work is under way for a light industrial plant.

“Typically, we’re looking at light industrial and office” construction, said Dave Kessler, a Latitude Development co-owner.

Including the lease awaiting the commission’s approval, Latitude Development and another developer, KW Projects, are pursuing four projects at the former sawmill on the west bank of the Snohomish River in Everett.

The investments could bring about 800 jobs paying more than $35 million in wages each year. About 700 construction workers are expected to be needed to build the proposed developments, according to the port’s estimates.

“The site has not been a major employment center since Weyerhaeuser’s Mill B closed” in the 1980s, Port spokeswoman Lisa Lefeber said. “This is a very exciting development.”

Before it closed, the mill employed nearly 2,000 people. The port acquired the land in 1998 with the goal of returning it to productive use.

“Putting industrial mill sites back into productive use is complicated and time-consuming” work, she said.

In 2005, the port reached a tentative deal to sell the entire site to Sierra Pacific Industries, which wanted to put a new sawmill there. However, the timber company opted for another location.

In 2007, Motor Trucks International, a truck dealership, bought five acres. Around that time, Riverside was pulled from the market for a few years while tons of fill were hauled in to raise the land out of the floodplain.

The port renewed marketing efforts in 2012. That year, Snohomish County bought about 16 acres of Riverside for $7.8 million for use by its trash and recycling contractor.

In early 2016, a California developer offered to buy 10 acres for nearly $3 million. The deal later fell through, Lefeber said.

A few months later, the port sold 16 acres for $5 million to KW Projects, a partnership between Kiernan Companies, a developer based in Coronado, Colorado, and West Partners, a San Diego-based investment group.

A little farther south along the Snohomish River, new houses are going up at Polygon Northwest’s Riverfront development. The land is a former city dump and site of the Everett Tire Fire in the mid-1980s. The city of Everett cleaned up the area to spur new construction. It sold it in 2008 for $8 million to a San Diego company, OliverMcMillan, which was not able to follow through. OliverMcMillan sold it in 2013 to Polygon Northwest.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dcatchpole.

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