After a nearly decadelong delay due to the Great Recession, a developer expects to finally break ground on the 83-acre Tumwater Corporate Park that will primarily support retail distribution warehouses.
The site is east of Interstate 5 on a vacant lot at 93rd Avenue Southwest and Kimmie Street Southwest. In the spring, crews will install basic infrastructure and prepare the property for construction. The plan includes widening both Kimmie Street and 93rd Avenue, Knapp said.
Ted Knapp of developer Michelson Knapp Land Venture said the private project — which had already undergone environmental review — was put on hold when the economy crashed in 2008.
The Tumwater complex will be similar to the developer’s new Sumner Corporate Park, on 148 acres in Pierce County. The Sumner site includes manufacturing firms as well as distribution warehouses for companies such as Amazon and Kellogg’s.
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The key difference is that in Tumwater, the facilities will be “built to suit” for tenants instead of relying on the “build it and they will come” approach. Warehouses could be as large as 1 million square feet.
The market for industrial complexes such as the proposed Tumwater project is moving south, Knapp said. He primarily does business in the Kent, Sumner and Fife areas, where land for this type of industry has become scarce in recent years.
Likewise, the cost of doing business is cheaper in Thurston County compared with King and Pierce counties. Many of the goods at the future Tumwater warehouses would come out of the ports in Seattle and Tacoma before they’re loaded on trucks for distribution, Knapp said.
“We have a great piece of property,” he said of the Tumwater site.
Tumwater City Administrator John Doan said the project’s economic impact in Tumwater depends on the way the space is used. An operation that focuses on manufacturing or distribution, for example, will bring in more jobs and sales tax compared to an industrial building that’s used for storage.
Doan said Thurston County is a prime logistical site for these businesses because of its location between Seattle and Portland. The county also sits south of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s infamous traffic congestion, which can slow down truck shipments.
“As parcels up north have developed, warehouse distribution has been coming south,” Doan said. “You can see the pattern.”