AAPA Seaports Advisory

Maritime Economic Development: Brownsville, Seattle

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USS Independence Arrives at Port of Brownsville for Dismantling

The decommissioned aircraft carrier ex-USS Independence arrived under tow June 1 at the Port of Brownsville at the International Shipbreaking Ltd. (ISL) facility on South Padre Island following a 16,000-mile voyage from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton (WA).

"We recognize that this is a sentimental time for many. Some may view this as an ending, for others it’s a new beginning," said John Wood, Brownsville Navigation District chairman, at a special ceremony held by International Shipbreaking Ltd. "In her new role, the USS Independence will provide a hopeful future for hundreds of local men and women. Through the jobs created through her repurposing, she will live on, and continue to serve."

ISL won the Navy bid to recycle the 60,000-ton vessel, the last of the Forrestal-class of "supercarriers." This will be the third vessel of its kind to be recycled by the company, which is part of the EMR Group. ISL lifted the last piece of the former USS Constellation out of the water on May 10, making way for the Independence.

"Preparations at the Brownsville yard are complete and the team is excited for her arrival," said Chris Green, ISL president, days before the vessel’s arrival. "We take great pride in having been awarded another US Navy ship recycling contract to dismantle this historic vessel in a safe and environmentally responsible manner."

According to the company, the carrier will undergo an extensive dismantling and recycling process expected to take around a year and a half to complete and support about 160 jobs locally.

The Independence is expected to produce about 51,000 tons of copper, brass, steel, armored plate and other metals that will end up in steel mills in Mexico and other parts of the world. Some 14,000 to 18,000 tons of armored plate will be sent to Pennsylvania where it will be melted down and made into armor for a new aircraft carrier.

International Shipbreaking is a long-time tenant of the port and one of six Brownsville area ship recyclers. Recycled steel is shipped from the port by barge, rail and truck.

Ex-USS Independence arriving at the International Shipbreaking facility in Brownsville
Photo/International Shipbreaking Ltd.

Port of Seattle Breaks Ground on 26-Acre Industrial Site

The Port of Seattle broke ground June 6 on a 26.2-acre/10.6-hectare site, which will house two Class "A" industrial warehouses, totaling 458,500 square feet. Both buildings are scheduled to be delivered in early 2018.

Located in the City of Burien, the master planned Northeast Redevelopment Area (NERA) will anchor 600 to 800 jobs in the next three years. The companies co-locating on site will be involved in storage, processing, airport services and logistics related to aviation, among others.

"The Port of Seattle is thrilled to work with the City of Burien and Panattoni Development to bring family wage jobs to southwest King County," said Port of Seattle Commissioner John Creighton. "Redeveloping this property brings economic development and tax revenue to Burien, and advances the Port’s goal to increase air cargo business and jobs as part of our Century Agenda."

The port’s agreement with the developer includes a 55-year initial term, plus two 10-year extensions at an initial annual rent of just over $1 million, with a provision base rent increases every five years as well as Fair Market Valuations (FMV) every 10 years starting in 2021. In the ground lease, the developer also agreed to provide prevailing wages and apprenticeship utilization during the construction.

The Seattle Gateway Center #1 site will preserve and restore 1.87 acres of degraded wetland and wetland buffer. These areas will be restored to improve ecological functions and values and will be protected with a conservation easement. Invasive shrubs such as Himalayan blackberry, Scotch broom, holly, and English ivy will be removed and native trees, shrubs, and groundcover will be installed to create a diverse vegetation community. Salvaged logs will also be placed in the buffer to enhance wildlife habitat.

In addition to the preservation and restoration of the wetlands, the project will also retain 8.4 percent of existing significant trees. Future plantings will include 281 deciduous trees and 196 Evergreen Trees. Native trees such as Serviceberry, Alaska Cedar, Western Red Cedar, Black Austrian Pine and ornamental trees such as Flowering Pear, Incense Cedar, Autumn Blaze Maple, and Zelkova will be incorporated into the design.

Both sites will pursue LEED v4 certification. Sustainable site measures will stress stormwater management through direct infiltration and regional water facility filtration; a cool roof and concrete truck apron to reduce heat buildup, and exterior lighting selected to enhance safety while shielding the night sky from glare and uplighting.

Outdoor water use will be minimized through drip irrigation systems and drought-tolerant plantings, while indoor water fixtures will be very low flow. High-efficiency exhaust fans and gas fired heaters along with LED lighting equipped with daylight and occupancy sensors will optimize core energy performance year after year. Building materials used will be low-emitting and free of lead, cadmium, and mercury. Construction waste diversion will be maximized throughout construction with on-site source separation of waste streams.

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