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Published May 2002

New industrial center in works for Seaway Center

By Eric Fetters
Herald Business Writer

A national real estate development company plans to build 600,000 square feet of warehouses and manufacturing space on a 37-acre site at southwest Everett’s Seaway Center.

Panattoni Development Co., based in Sacramento, Calif., signed a contract in late March to acquire the property at the intersection of Merrill Creek Parkway and Hardeson Road.

“It’s good news for a lot of people, certainly for the Puget Sound area’s economy and for the city of Everett,” said Tom Ohrbeck, whose Seaway Development Co. manages the site for Washington Services Inc.

Mike Wells, local partner with Panattoni, said in a statement announcing the purchase that Seaway is a “great location in a submarket that continues to grow — even in a challenging economic environment.”

Panattoni’s announcement said the company plans to develop five to eight industrial buildings for lease or sale that will serve distribution and manufacturing users. This will be the flagship project in Western Washington for Panattoni, which intends to do more development in the region. During the past 15 years, the company has built 69 million square feet of space in other states.

Gary Bullington, who works in Cushman & Wakefield’s Bellevue office and represented Panattoni in the sale, said the company began looking around the Puget Sound area about six months ago. He said Panattoni is highly respected for its projects in other parts of the country.

“They’ve built their reputation by being very active in the industrial development arena and being very successful with Fortune 500 companies,” said Bullington, who also will be in charge of marketing the project to potential tenants.

The big names that Panattoni has built large facilities for include Ford Motor Co., Hewlett-Packard, Bank of America, Procter & Gamble and Amazon.com. The company’s first Washington project was announced in January, when it signed an agreement to help develop more than 800 acres in Moses Lake.

The Seaway Center property Panattoni is buying, known as Lot 8, is north of the King Extrusions Ltd. plastic products plant and adjacent to a former sand and gravel site now being turned into developable space. The price of the purchase from Washington Services Inc., a subsidiary of Washington Federal Savings, was not disclosed.

Construction at the graded site could start this summer, because development permits are already arranged, Ohrbeck said. The first building could be ready by year’s end, according to Panattoni.

Seaway Center initially was developed in the 1980s. Early arrivals to the area included Fluke Corp., which relocated its world headquarters there. But most of the land sat empty until the past decade.

A flurry of development came in the second half of the 1990s, when Intermec, Viking Freight, Community Transit, Solectron and others moved into offices or manufacturing and distribution centers at Seaway.

More recent projects in the area include the Intercorps Industrial Center along Seaway Boulevard, which totals about 1 million square feet. The first tenants included Iron Mountain, a financial records storage company.

A deal to sell Lot 8 to another buyer reportedly fell apart late last year over worries about the post-Sept. 11 economy, but Bullington said Seaway Center’s potential remains strong. Its location near major freeways made it desirable to Panattoni and will attract others, he said.

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