Port of Tacoma

New warehouse complex on Tideflats could generate 500-1,000 jobs

A new warehouse and distribution center complex planned for a nearly 80-acre Tacoma Tideflats tract could generate up to 1,000 new jobs when it is fully developed and leased, a Port of Tacoma real estate executive told port commission members Thursday.

Those employment figures were part of a presentation by Scott Francis, the port’s real estate manager, as he briefed commissioners on a proposal to lease the tract at 5200 12th St. E. to Prologis. San Francisco-based Prologis plans to build up to 1.7 million square feet of new warehouse space on the land and lease it to port-dependent businesses.

The port will receive some $2.1 million in annual rent for the land which it purchased in the 1960s for use for disposal of dredging wastes. The port recently reconfigured the land to prepare it for development. Prologis won’t lease the entire tract, which is bordered on the north and west by state Route 509 and on the south by 12th Street East. The eastern boundary is 54th Street East.

The port will retain part of the land for the right-of-way for the eventual extension of state Route 167 from Puyallup. Other portions of the original tract will be used for wildlife and plant habitat.

Francis told the commission the port and its real estate consultants spent nearly two years marketing the property. They contacted some 4,700 potential developers with online brochures and personal calls in some cases to create interest in the site.

“This is the perfect time to develop this property,” said Francis. “Its time to turn a nonperforming asset into a performing one.”

The port picked Prologis, which already has several properties in the Puget Sound area, because of its expertise and its worldwide network of contacts and connections.

Prologis has already begun working with the port to do planning for the development. An early conceptual plan shows three major buildings to be constructed on the site. The largest of which would cover about one million square feet. The warehouse buildings will be buffered from the surrounding area including a residential development by a large earthen berm planted with trees and vegetation.

Several commissioners said they wanted the developer to take special care to ensure that the large development won’t create traffic or noise problems for its neighbors.

Under the terms of the contract approved Thursday, Prologis would lease the land for 50 years with a 25-year extension option. At the end of 75 years, the port would own the buildings or could require them to be torn down if they were in bad repair or obsolete.

Prologis has several months to finish its due diligence investigation of the site and to finish seeking permits for construction before building is likely to start.

The deal with Prologis is similar to an agreement several years ago with Northwest Building Corporation for lease of land adjacent to port. Northwest Building developed a series of warehouses on that land including a major cold storage warehouse.

Companies use near-port warehouses to sort incoming imported goods for distribution and to consolidate goods destined for export on ships calling at port terminals.