Port of Tacoma: 5 contractors bid on former Brown & Haley warehouse demolition project

Five contractors have submitted bids on a project to demolish the former Brown & Haley headquarters and warehouse on the Tacoma tide flats.

The sprawling, abandoned, and boarded up Port of Tacoma-owned property — located at 1940 E. 11th St., near the corner of East 11th Street and Thorne Road — was once a hub of economic activity and the headquarters for one of Tacoma’s most prominent businesses.

In 1965, Brown & Haley — the world-famous Tacoma candy-maker that produces Almond Roca and dates back to 1912 — moved into the 116,000-square-foot building and remained there for more than 40 years. Eight years ago, the Port of Tacoma purchased the property for $3 million and continued to lease the warehouse to the candy maker until August of 2007, when a city building inspector “red tagged” the structure, which was built in 1948, citing two broken trusses and extensive roof leaks.

Evidence of the candy maker’s presence still existed in some places during a site visit two years ago. Although windows were boarded over and the entire 5.6-acre property has since been ringed by a chain-link fence, the building trim was painted the familiar pink color of Almond Roca tins, and a faded sign that once directed delivery drivers to the receiving department was still visible. According to Port of Tacoma staff, however, the building has reached the end of its useful life, and any historic significance has been stripped away, essentially leaving behind a building shell.

The Port of Tacoma began to make public its plans to demolish the building two years ago. Last year, the Port of Tacoma Commission directed $71,000 to board up the vacant building, and $850,000 to prepare the site for demolition. This summer, commissioners directed approximately $3.24 million to complete the demolition. Earlier this month, the Port began to accept bids on the demolition project. According to bid documents prepared by Port of Tacoma staff, the work will involve a high level of abatement due to polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and asbestos contamination found within the building and nearby soil. A steel manufacturing company was headquartered on the site prior to Brown & Haley. Port of Tacoma staff hosted a pre-bid meeting and site tour on Thurs., Sept. 11, at 11 a.m. The bid deadline expired on Thurs., Sept. 25, at 2 p.m.

The five contractors that submitted bids are TITAN Earthwork, LLC (Sumner, Wash. — approximately $1.6 million); Dickson Co. (Tacoma, Wash. — approximately $1.7 million); 3 Kings Environmental (Battle Ground, Wash. — approximately $2.2 million); Construction Group International, LLC (Woodinville, Wash. — approximately $1.4 million); and Rhine Demolition, LLC (Tacoma, Wash. — approximately $1.7 million).

Once the demolition is completed, the Port of Tacoma is expected to use the site to expand its operations.

To read the Tacoma Daily Index’s complete and comprehensive coverage of the proposed demolition of the former Brown & Haley warehouse, click on the following links:

Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index and recipient of an award for Outstanding Achievement in Media from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for his work covering historic preservation in Tacoma and Pierce County. He has earned four awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including first-place honors for his feature article about Seattle’s bike messengerssecond-place honors for his feature article about whistle-blowers in Washington State; third-place honors for his feature article about the University of Washington’s Innocence Project; and third-place honors for his feature interview with Prison Legal News founder Paul Wright. His work has appeared in All About Jazz, City Arts Tacoma, Earshot Jazz, Homeland Security Today, Jazz Steps, Journal of the San Juans, Lynnwood-Mountlake Terrace Enterprise, Prison Legal News, Rain Taxi, Real Change, Seattle Business Monthly, Seattle magazine, Tablet, Washington CEO, Washington Law & Politics, and Washington Free Press. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.