Foss Shipyard puttering off to Everett
In another sign of the times, the Foss Maritime shipyard located near the Ballard Bridge (660 West Ewing Street) is moving up to Everett.
The shipyard has been at its current location since 1974, when it moved up from Tacoma.
The parent company, Saltchuk, cites expansion as their main reason for moving. The existing shipyard in Seattle is not accessible to larger ships because they can't fit through the Ballard Locks, and the surrounding residential area makes it hard for them to expand outward.
To accommodate for future expansion, Saltchuk bought the 66-acre property of the old Kimberly-Clark pulp mill, which went defunct in February of 2012.
"We see tremendous opportunity and potential for further growth at the Everett site, a deep water port with unrestricted waterways. And we believe the redevelopment of this site as a shipyard and maritime complex will contribute a vital economic base to the Everett community," said Mark Tabbutt, Chairman of Saltchuk.
For Ballardites, the move is just another reminder that the neighborhood isn't the fishing village it used to be.
But for Everett, Saltchuk's buy provides hope that hardworking, honest-paying jobs will come back to the area. The shipyard will initially bring 250 skilled, family-wage jobs. About 700 people lost their jobs when the pulp mill closed down.
"We are pleased that Saltchuk emerged as the successful bidder because they are the type of prospect we were hoping to attract, a well-respected company that will bring jobs and economic vitality back to that section of the Everett waterfront. We look forward to working with Saltchuk over the coming months to successfully close the transaction," said Len Anderson, director, real estate for Kimberly-Clark.
U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, who represents the area, lauded the buy in a statement.
“Foss Maritime’s move to Everett starts another great chapter in the city’s proud manufacturing history,” Larsen said. “I look forward to welcoming the 250 workers and hopefully many more as Foss has new opportunities to expand its operations."
Foss brings to Everett quite the history. It was founded in Tacoma in 1889 by Thea Foss, a young Norwegian immigrant, and her husband Andrew. She, quite literally, went from the purchase of a single rowboat and transformed it into a world class fleet.
Current shipbuilding projects will continue at the current location for the next several years, as future projects move to Everett. The property buy will be settled within the next few months and the move wouldn't take place for at least a couple years.
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