A family-owned Tacoma company that has owned and managed thousands of acres of timberland in Washington for more than a century is selling its Lewis County lands to an aggressive California wood products company.
The acquisition of Murray Pacific Corp.’s 54,000 acres of forested land is Sierra Pacific Industries’ latest foray into the timber business in Washington. The sale is expected to be consummated by the end of July.
“The sale marks the end of Murray Pacific’s 104-year history in the timber business, and ensures that the timberland it has carefully managed for many decades goes to new owners with similar values,” the Tacoma-based company said Friday in a news release.
Toby Murray, the firm’s chief executive officer, said the company and the family that owns it are not going away.
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“We’ve been in the investment business for more than 25 years now. This sale will give us much more money to invest,” he said.
The company’s dedication to Tacoma-area civic causes will be undiminished, he said. Among other civic ventures, the company has been a major supporter of the Tacoma Art Museum.
Sierra Pacific this year announced it is buying Simpson Lumber Co.’s Shelton and Dayton mills. Sierra Pacific plans to shut down those mills, the main private employer in the Shelton area, while it builds a new mill on the waterfront in Shelton. That mill is expected to open in 2017. Some 270 workers were laid off during the transition to the new mill.
The California company has also announced plans to build a new sawmill at Frederickson in Pierce County. The forest products company bought some 250 acres in Frederickson last year from the Port of Tacoma and other land owners. The new mill will occupy about half that tract. When the new mill opens, it is expected to employ about 150 workers.
Sierra Pacific said the acquisition of the Murray Pacific property will solidify plans to build the new Frederickson sawmill.
The California company approached Murray Pacific about buying the land, said Murray. That happened after Sierra Pacific bought about 8,500 acres of timberland adjacent to Murray Pacific’s land in Lewis County.
“We are very pleased to be able to purchase this timberland to help supply our existing and future mills in Washington” said Sierra Pacific Chairman Mark Emmerson. “This land has been managed sustainably by the previous owners for many years, and we intend to continue to maintain it for high quality timber, wildlife, and water values in the future.”
Sierra Pacific Industries is a third-generation, family-owned forest products company based in Anderson, California. The firm owns and manages nearly 1.9 million acres of timberland in California and Washington, and is the second largest lumber producer and largest manufacturer of millwork in the United States.
In Washington, Sierra Pacific already operates sawmills at Aberdeen, Burlington and Centralia.