Brown & Haley relocates factory after truss failure

By a 5-0 vote, the Port of Tacoma Commission approved the relocation of Brown & Haley's operations after its Tideflats facility was damaged.

Brown & Haley had to move out of its facility at 1940 E. 11th St., just south of the Port of Tacoma headquarters, because of a major truss failure the weekend of Aug. 11-12.

"It was a safety issue," said Manager of Industrial Real Estate Derrick Urquhart. "The biggest point of concern was that we couldn't find a cause."

Neither the port engineers nor independent engineers have established a cause for the truss failure.

Although Brown & Haley has occupied the 116,000-square-foot building since 1964, the port has owned the facility for just over two years. Because Brown & Haley's lease does not expire until 2011, the Port of Tacoma was obligated to find a comparable space.

The Port subleased a 145,000-square-foot building in Fife that was recently vacated by K2, located in the TransPacific Industrial Park and owned by AMB Properties.

"We expect that that's going to be more than they need," Urquhart remarked. The sublease will expire in March 2008, but the port is in negotiations with the owner to secure the space for longer. They are also looking at other options for a more permanent home for Brown & Haley.

Port engineers are still investigating the cause of the truss failure to see if it can be repaired. They are considering the possibility that unusually high tides caused damage to the building, which is very near the water.

Even if the building could be repaired, however, Urquhart estimated the total cost would be approximately $750,000.

"Everything's indicating that it's going to be a total demolition," he reported. "We're still investigating whether the corporate office portion is something that needs to be moved immediately."

Brown & Haley and the Port have been working together to make the new warehouse food-grade ready. They will spend the next couple weeks relocating the factory.

"This is absolutely the worst time for them to be moving. They're gearing up for the Christmas season," Urquhart noted. "It's caused some challenges from the distribution side, but they've been rolling with it, so we're expecting it won't disrupt them at all."

Brown & Haley could not be reached for comment.


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