More than four decades after the Port of Tacoma bought a rural Pierce County tract as the site for future industrial development, it may soon complete its mission.
The port is advertising as surplus the five final parcels in the Frederickson Industrial Development as a prelude to putting that land, totaling some 106 acres, on the sale block.
The parcels are all that remain of a 550-acre former explosives plant site the port acquired 44 years ago to supplement its Tacoma Tideflats land as a site for new industrial activity.
The development, south of 176 Street East along Canyon Road East, now houses businesses that employ some 4,000 workers.
The biggest employer adjacent to the port development is The Boeing Co., which built a plant that manufactures wing assemblies and composite aircraft tails in the 1990s. A nearby Toray Composites America factory supplies that Boeing facility with the raw material out of which Boeing creates composite tails for its 787 and 777 aircraft.
Port spokeswoman Tara Mattina said several potential buyers have expressed interest in acquiring the Frederickson land, although none has made a specific offer. State law requires that the port declare the land surplus to its needs and hold a public hearing before it can sell the property.
The port has been successful over the years in attracting major clients to the development. It houses, for instance, regional warehouses for Swedish household furnishings retailer IKEA and for appliance manufacturer Whirlpool.
The site is served by Tacoma Rail and by major gas pipelines and electrical transmission lines.
The development’s weak point for years was road access, but Pierce County over the last two decades has made improvements to Canyon Road East that have made truck and worker access to the site easier.
In other real estate business this week, the port has also listed as surplus an important waterfront parcel on the east side of the Blair Waterway. The Blair is the port’s main watery artery for access to its container terminals.
The port plans to trade that property to the Puyallup Tribe as part of a complicated land swap that will allow the port to widen the Blair for larger ships while not diminishing the tribe’s potential containership terminal sites.
The tribe acquired valuable waterfront parcels as a result of the 1988 land claims settlement with local, state and federal governments.
The tribe initially sited its Emerald Queen Casino on one waterfront tract, but subsequently moved that casino close to Interstate 5. The tribal land is now available for waterborne commerce.
The port in recent months has attracted four new container lines to the Washington United Terminal across the Blair from tribal land.
Those container lines formerly called on the Port of Seattle. The ships they’re bringing to the port could cause congestion along the waterway.
Studies done by the port suggest the waterway be widened to accommodate more ship traffic in the future.
Widening could involve cutting back some of the tribe’s existing land to create a wider waterway, thus the need to compensate the tribe with more firstname.lastname@example.org 253-597-8663