An aerial photo shows the former property of the Kimberly-Clark paper mill on the Everett waterfront. The parking lots at upper right are being sold to an Everett developer. (Port of Everett)

An aerial photo shows the former property of the Kimberly-Clark paper mill on the Everett waterfront. The parking lots at upper right are being sold to an Everett developer. (Port of Everett)

Port sells ex-mill parking lots to developer for $3.6M

City of Everett code allows Williams Investment to build three-story and four-story apartment buildings.

EVERETT — A prolific development and property management company is buying from the Port of Everett over 2 acres of water-view land, zoned for up to three- and four-story apartment buildings.

5 J Williams Family Investments, which operates as Williams Investments and is based in Everett, is to purchase 2¼ acres along the east side of West Marine View Drive between 23rd Street and 25th Street. The deal, unanimously approved by port commissioners Tuesday, is worth up to $3.6 million for the port. But about $1.5 million of that total is in reserve in case a concrete wall supporting the land needs to be reinforced or adjusted to allow full development.

“I think this is great,” Port Commissioner Glen Bachman said. “I’m just nuts that this is a local developer, a local family.”

Years ago, the property was parking for Kimberly-Clark paper mill workers, who could cross a pedestrian bridge over West Marine View Drive. The port bought the former parking lots for $1.5 million in 2017.

After years of failed deals by other companies and the port, as well as a battle over the land in 2019, the Port of Everett bought the remaining properties of the former mill, totaling 58 acres, for $33 million. The agency’s leaders plan to develop it mostly for maritime use, aquatic management, public shore access and recreation.

The properties in this deal are valued at almost $1.25 million, but the port valued them higher based on the development potential.

The Port of Everett couldn’t redevelop the parking lots because the city re-zoned the parcels for housing, which falls outside of the agency’s mission.

“Housing really is not in our mandate under the state,” port chief of business and economic development Terrie Battuello told The Daily Herald.

Williams Investments submitted the only proposal, though the port sought other companies that might have been interested, Battuello said. The company has 20 properties in Everett, plus 19 others in Arlington, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Marysville and Mill Creek.

A call to Williams Investments was not returned in time for this story, so plans for the property were not clear. But under City of Everett zoning, the property could host three-story and four-story buildings, respectively, north and south of 24th Street.

At a minimum, the north parcel must be developed with two units and the south parcel three units. The south parcel does not have a density cap, but the north parcel, within a historic overlay, is limited to at most 29 units per acre.

“We are very excited for the opportunity,” said Williams Investments operations manager Ryan Kilby during the port meeting. “We’ve always dreamed of building something with the Port of Everett.”

As part of the $1.5 million reserved for potential concrete wall work, the port included a covenant that requires construction to begin by the end of 2023, or the port retains that money.

“We did that because we want to prompt the redevelopment,” Battuello said at the meeting.

The company has until April 27 to withdraw from the deal.

Ben Watanabe: bwatanabe@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3037; Twitter @benwatanabe.

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