It was huge news when the former Weyerhaeuser campus in Federal Way was sold in 2016 and the company moved its headquarters to Seattle.
The sprawling campus, tucked between Interstate 5 and state Route 18, is home to significant wooded lakefront land, a bonsai museum and a rhododendron garden.
Now, California-based developer Industrial Realty Group is ready to introduce a new plan to the public.
An open house for public viewing of the plan is set for 5:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 13 at the site.
So, what’s new?
For starters, IRG has rebranded the site with a new name.
Goodbye, Weyerhaeuser campus. Hello, Woodbridge Corporate Park.
The Woodbridge website says it aims to create “new employment opportunities across the income spectrum.”
“Our vision saves the vast majority of the acreage, leaving it as natural space that will be open for public use and tenants of the corporate park,” according to the company.
The developers estimate leaving about 70 percent of the land undeveloped. The parcels that are developed will be for what the plan terms “light industrial,” which IRG says will be obscured by trees and generally hidden from the roadway.
Five new proposed buildings, at a total of 1.5 million square feet, will be developed “in a way that minimizes traffic, protects water quality and reduces aesthetic impacts significantly less than other options like condominiums, apartments, retail and additional office space,” according to the site plan.
“If you were to put a multifamily proposal on (the site), the traffic would be three times that caused by the business plan we are focused on,” said Dana Ostenson, executive vice president of IRG
A Fortune 50 company, which he declined to identify, is reportedly considering one of the proposed buildings. It would bring more than 200 jobs, including “185 desk jobs, some executive space, some distribution and some repair for the company’s products,” Ostenson said.
IRG is keeping its tenant recruitment focused on bringing back as many jobs as possible to replace those lost with Weyerhaeuser’s departure, as well as what might make a good fit “and great jobs” for Federal Way, Ostenson said, such as aerospace or biotech.
“This is very important for Federal Way, given their fiscal needs,” he said.
The end goal is to create “not only thousands of jobs but in an environmentally effective way ... not a moonscape,” Ostenson said.
All of the emphasis on environment and landscape and public outreach might be to head off critics.
Save Weyerhaeuser Campus, a grassroots community group, is particularly concerned about new warehouses and truck traffic at the site. The new plan also follows the withdrawal of plans in 2016, after public backlash, for a $55 million plant for Orca Bay Seafoods and Preferred Freezer Services on part of the campus.
The Save Weyerhaeuser Campus group told the Federal Way Mirror this month that it hoped to speak with IRG in an effort to preserve the unique character of the land.
Meanwhile, IRG’s hope is that the new buildings and business attracted to the site will pay for the preservation and restoration of campus features such as Weyerhaeuser’s former headquarters.
“Thoughtful design of new light industrial buildings that are shielded from view by dense tree cover will allow the preservation and restoration of the headquarters building, open fields, trails, North Lake waterfront, Bonsai Museum and the Rhododendron Species Botanical Gardens,” the plan notes.
▪ Feb. 13, 5:30-7:30 p.m., with presentations by IRG staff at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
▪ Woodbridge Corporate Park headquarters, 33663 Weyerhaeuser Way S., Federal Way
▪ Event details: https://www.woodbridgecorporatepark.com/events/
▪ Site plan: https://www.woodbridgecorporatepark.com/