Nicholas Shanmac, June 6, 2014, Vancouver Business Journal
2014 has been a busy year for the Port of Kalama, and the Cowlitz County hub is showing no signs of slowing down.
Currently under construction at the port is an impressive new administrative office building and Transportation Interpretive Center. The 13,500-square-foot building will not only house the port’s administrative offices, but will also celebrate the city’s place in Pacific Northwest history.
Olympia-based Berschauer Group is the general contractor for the center. The building was designed to resemble a traditional waterfront warehouse of the 1800s and should be complete by this fall.
“A new administrative office enables us to provide even more efficient services to our port businesses, and the Interpretive Center offers the community and visitors a quality destination to explore,” said Troy Stariha, Port of Kalama commission president.
Meanwhile, Chehalis-based Railworks Corporation is wrapping up work on a rail improvement/relocation project for port tenant Temco LLC, a grain company. Construction on the project began earlier this year with a $5.9 million investment by the port, coupled with an investment by Temco. Officials said the project will double the rail capacity and triple product throughput capacity at the site.
“Rail expansion and track relocation significantly enhances our client’s transportation efficiency and doubles the firm’s rail capacity to move grain which enables them to remain competitive in the global export market,” said Stariha. “These are the kinds of partnerships on projects we can offer our clients while making a positive impact on the region’s economic health.”
More growth is anticipated at the port as the commission recently approved the annexation of 260 acres at East Port for the development of mixed-use business center to attract new business and family-wage jobs. At full build-out, the multi-use business property is slated to bring in an estimated $184 million in commercial and industrial business each year.
Finally, NW Innovation Works is proposing to construct a two-phase $1.8 billion manufacturing plant on port property that would produce methanol from natural gas.
Though the project has yet to receive environmental and regulatory approvals, officials said it represents 1,000 jobs during construction and 200 permanent family-wage jobs during operations.
A lease agreement between the port and NW Innovation Works calls for a two-year contingency period allowing both parties to conduct in-depth analysis of environmental, safety and feasibility issues. After all contingencies have been satisfied, a 30-year lease for construction and operations would commence.
“NW Innovation Works is honored to partner with the Port of Kalama on this development, and we are grateful for their leadership and support as we move toward permitting, construction and eventual operation of the plant,” said Murray Godley, president of NW Innovation Works, in a press release. “We look forward to working together with the port and the community of Kalama to generate a brighter economic future for the region.”