Share story

Seattle-based maritime conglomerate Saltchuk has agreed to buy the 66-acre former Kimberly-Clark mill on Everett’s waterfront, with plans to relocate its 250-employee Foss Maritime shipyard from the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

Saltchuk Chairman Mark Tabbutt said the company will take four months to complete its due diligence on the property, and any move wouldn’t take place for a couple years.

Finalizing the sale hinges mostly on discovering what lies off the industrial waterfront’s shoreline.

“The biggest concern everyone has is we’re going to need to do some dredging inside the harbor there in Everett, and we’ll have to see how that goes on the environmental side,” he said in an interview.

Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson, in a prepared statement, called the deal “a win-win for Everett and our economic future.”

Foss operates a fleet of 180 tugs and barges, and has 1,800 employees. The unit’s 100-employee headquarters would remain on Lake Union, as would the corporate offices from which Saltchuk oversees several other marine and transportation businesses.

Tabbutt said the company’s shipbuilding and repair operation is limited to work on vessels up to about 150 feet long because of its location on the Lake Union side of the locks.

The Everett site “will allow us to grow the market we pursue,” he said. “We’ll have a deep-water facility that we can bring larger vessels into.”

The planned sale price was not disclosed.

Tabbutt said Kimberly-Clark is paying for environmental remediation on the land where a pulp and tissue mill stood for about 80 years. But the responsibility for cleaning up anything turned up during the harbor dredging will depend on what is found there, he said.