The Weyerhaeuser Building has stood tall in Everett for 93 years, though not always in the same place. Now it is moving for the third and it is hoped final time.
The Weyerhaeuser building has stood tall in Everett for 93 years, though not always in the same place. Now it is moving for the third and it is hoped final time.
On Wednesday, workers from Everett-based structural moving company Nickel Bros made the last preparations to transport the 350-ton building to its new home: as a centerpiece of the new Waterfront Place Central development at Boxcar Park in the Port of Everett’s Central Marina.
Plans called for it to hit the road early Thursday morning.
The project is a mixed-use development expected to support 2,075 family-wage jobs right on Everett’s waterfront, where the city had its roots as a mill town. The Weyerhaeuser Building’s unique ties to that history is precisely what made it a key element of the upcoming development.
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Weyerhaeuser commissioned architect Carl Gould to design a 6,000-square-foot building that would showcase local wood varieties, and in 1923 the ornate, Gothic-style structure was erected at the company’s first Everett plant, known as Mill A.
The building made its first move, by barge, in 1938, north up the Snohomish River to the company’s Mill B, near the Legion Memorial Golf Course. It served as an office space until the mill closed in 1979.
In 1983 the structure was donated to the Port of Everett, and was barged back down the river to the Port’s south marina.
It was used by the Chamber of Commerce throughout the ’80s, then abandoned when the chamber moved.
There were talks of moving the building again in 2007, led by developer Steve Hager. He had built a reputation for moving historic buildings by previously relocating 11 homes in Everett’s historic Donavan District.
However, those plans fell through when the recession hit.
The building was certainly not forgotten though. Its two voyages, and their spectacle, had made the building a point of interest and affection among Everett residents, and the Port saw it as the perfect piece around which to build its waterfront development.
“We really made the project authentic to Everett,” said Lisa Lefeber, the Port’s chief of policy and communications.
The building will be called the Weyerhaeuser Muse “because muse is somewhat of an inspiration and we wanted to honor the history of the building,” Lefeber said.
The Port plans to make interior improvements and build a stage off the back so the building can serve as a performance venue and marina clubhouse.
Moving the building is one of the more complicated relocations that moving company Nickel Bros has faced.
The company has been around for 60 years and has built a reputation internationally for moving historical buildings, as well as other large loads.
Nickel Bros estimator Nick Carpenter said the move was right in its backyard, and the company considers complex moves a specialty.
“We really wanted to be part of making sure this building got saved,” Carpenter said.
What makes the move particularly complex is a two-story, concrete-and-steel, 160 ton vault built into the building. The vault, originally used to store the company’s payroll, is asymmetrical.
To account for the vault’s weight, Nickel Bros engineers designed a moving plan that balanced the vault’s weight across three zones on a transport system that uses 12 eight-wheeled dollies. It was initially lifted from its foundation using 42 hydraulic jacks.
The move will be guided primarily by a revamped 1956 Mack truck, affectionately called Bruno, although a few of the rear dollies offer steering control as well.
On this rig the structure will crawl for four to five hours during the night, before it reaches its destination about a mile away.