TACOMA, WA-The Port of Tacoma last week entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Kaiser Aluminum’s 96-acre property in Tacoma, Washington for $16.1 million, minus the cost to clean up the property. If approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2003.

The sale includes about 96 acres and related structures and equipment located approximately four miles east of downtown Tacoma in the Tideflats industrial area, adjacent to the Blair Waterway, which the Port is redeveloping for container terminal use. If the sale is approved, the Port will pay Kaiser $12.1 million cash and set aside $4 million in escrow “to meet certain regulatory requirements related to preparing the real estate for future use.”

Any portion of the funds not required to meet such requirements will be paid to Kaiser as additional proceeds of the sale. In return, the Port of Tacoma will assume responsibility for any necessary demolition and environmental remediation that may be required as it develops or otherwise maintains the property.

The Tacoma facility has been fully curtailed since mid-2000. At full operation, the facility had about 350 employees and was capable of producing about 73,000 metric tons of aluminum annually. “After much study, we concluded that Tacoma simply cannot compete with the much larger, newer, and more efficient smelters – generally located outside the United States – that dominate the world market today,” said Kaiser President and Chief Executive Officer Jack A. Hockema.

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