Sitka’s industrial park has attracted the interest of a couple of potential buyers — who may be interested in offering to purchase outright all remaining property at the site.
The Gary Paxton Industrial Park board of directors was hoping to see a pair of proposals Thursday afternoon (8-28-14) at its regular monthly meeting, but park director Garry White said the busy fishing season had caused a delay.
Both Silver Bay Seafoods, which currently owns a processing plant and other property in the park, and Alaska & Pacific Packing have expressed interest in the site. Alaska & Pacific Packing is headquartered in Naknek, on Bristol Bay, but its principal, Pat Glaab (“glob”), resides in Sitka.
Silver Bay CEO Rich Riggs first brought forward the idea to the board at its meeting in May. According to the meeting minutes, Riggs told the board that Silver Bay has been looking at opportunities for growth, and would have made a formal proposal sooner were it not for the fact that nearly all available property in the park is leased to Barnard Construction, while the Blue Lake Dam project is underway.
Riggs suggested a possible joint venture between Silver Bay and Halibut Point Marine, which would include a haul-out for large vessels.
At the same May meeting, Glaab told the board that Alaska & Pacific Packing was interested in leasing a building to manufacture equipment related to the seafood industry. But he also discussed plans to build four specialized ice-manufacturing barges for use in the Bristol Bay fisheries. This activity would involve the use of other waterfront property in the park.
There are approximately 25 lots in the central waterfront area of Gary Paxton Industrial Park, and roughly a quarter of them are committed. Property holders include the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association, Starwest, and the City of Sitka’s ultraviolet treatment plant. A new venture, I Water (“eye-water”), has leased three parcels, with an option to buy should the company build a bottling plant and ship product within the next two years.
Silver Bay Seafoods owns four lots.
Garry White was unable to provide more details on the prospective purchase of the remainder of park property, since all his board members had not yet seen the proposals.
Board members present Thursday stressed that public access to the waterfront — and a proposed city-owned $7.5-million dollar bulkhead dock — would not be affected by any future sale.
White says he’ll try to organized an evening meeting in September for his board — and the public — to vet the full proposals.
The Gary Paxton Industrial Park was the home of the Alaska Pulp Corporation Mill from 1959 to 1993. In 1999 APC demolished the mill and transferred the property to the City of Sitka. The park is managed by a five-member board appointed by the municipal assembly.