Port of Kalama’s 70-acre business park could boost economy

By Marissa Luck, July 3, 2015, The Daily News

Port of Kalama expects to begin developing a 70-acre business park by the end of the year.

At full build-out, which could take 20 years, the proposed Spencer Creek Business Park would support 900 on-site jobs, $40 million in annual payroll wages and $4.5 million in annual tax revenues, according to the port’s consultant.


The park will include a mix of commercial, retail, office and light industrial spaces north of Kalama River Road between Norris Pit Road and Interstate 5. The port has not yet developed an estimate for how much the park will cost.


Liz Newman, spokeswoman for the port, says the business park will diversify the types of space the port can offer and attract more professional service clients.


“We don’t really have anything that would support commercial or professional (services) businesses, where they need a little more visibility from I-5,” Newman said.


Construction of the park will have a big economic impact itself: Construction labor alone is forecast to total $60 million over 20 years. And spending on other construction-related costs — supplies, engineering and architectural fees — will cost about $170 million, according to an analysis from a Vancouver consultant.


Port officials submitted the business park master plan to the city of Kalama earlier this month. The city will kick off a 30-day review of the master plan to evaluate land-use, environmental and zoning issues. It will then have to make a recommendation to the city planning commission.


The port worked closely with Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife to design a plan that would avoid any wetland areas, said Tabitha Reeder, port environmental manager.


Although there are no firm dates yet, the port expects to start ground work for the project later this year. That would include road work on Old Highway 99 and Kalama River Road; raising the site above the 100-year flood plain; installing rain gardens; limited tree removal and tree planting. Sidewalks will be installed next year.


Across from the site of the future business park, construction of Haydu Park is nearly complete. The 24-acre recreational park, fairgrounds and ball fields will open July 17.


Port of Kalama has been acquiring land for the business and recreational parks over several years.


Newman said both parks are vital in “trying to continue to bring business and jobs into Kalama.”


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