SEATTLE – The Cascade Industrial Center – formerly the Arlington-Marysville Manufacturing and Industrial Center – became the region’s designated regional Manufacturing Industrial Center by the Puget Sound Regional Council Thursday.
MICs receive priority for federal transportation dollars through PSRC, as they are expected to contribute significantly to regional economic and employment growth.
The Cascade Industrial Center comprises over 4,000 acres of land including more than 1,700 acres of developable, partially used and vacant sites in Arlington and Marysville.
Streamlined permitting and business-friendly incentives help recruit, retain and expand businesses in the CIC, including a 10-year city and county property tax exemption, no city business and occupation tax, a reduced state B&O tax for aerospace, general industrial, food processing and timber, customized worker training grants and Opportunity Zones, a type of new federal reinvestment tax break.
The mayors of Arlington and Marysville celebrated the unanimous vote by the PSRC, capping an intense four-year process that involved sub-area plans and adapting regional policy changes and criteria to fit needs locally.
“The cities have been working together for years to plan and make infrastructure investments to support manufacturing and industrial business uses in this 4,000-acre center in north Marysville and south Arlington,” Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert said. “Our goal to benefit our residents with access to good employment opportunities close to home is now well on the way to being achieved.”
Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring said the efforts taken to make the vision become reality will bring family wage jobs to the community.
“Businesses will find affordability and an enviable quality of life for their employees,” he said. “Residents will gain the opportunity to trade their commutes for working closer to home. It’s a win-win.”
Currently, there are 8,000 jobs – 45 percent in manufacturing – within the CIC, and PSRC anticipates that will climb to 25,000 by 2040.
“We’re bullish on the region’s future over the next thirty years,” said Josh Brown, PSRC executive director. Among the grouping of 10 regional centers that the CIC now joins, “These are the right places to grow manufacturing jobs, and the centers we’ll look at when we’re doling out transportation dollars. CIC is the newest place where we’re going to get things right.”
Arlington City Councilwoman Jan Schuette, who has doggedly worked the designation process, said she is elated.
“It has been a long road, and this is super exciting,” Schuette said. After she was given the lead to read the motions for CIC designation at the board earlier this month, she threw both arms up in the air when the vote finished unanimous. Months earlier, split votes on regional center issues were more common among the four counties that make up the PSRC – Snohomish, King, Pierce and Kitsap.
Schuette said the biggest issue Arlington will face is the jobs that are coming. That will push the need for more housing. Arlington officials anticipate 1,400 new housing units will have gone in by the end of this year, with 1,000 more in 2020.
The influx of jobs will also fuel the need for improved transportation infrastructure, which will benefit from prioritization funding within the CIC. Meanwhile, the buildout of other roads within the center is being funded by new manufacturers, as well as multi-modal trails and other features contained in the city’s Complete Streets policies.
In some respects, the formal designation is almost anti-climactic since the manufacturer building bonanza has already been in full swing months before the ink was dry on PSRC documents.
“Commercial activity is already happening,” Arlington City Administrator Paul Ellis said, directing attention to the epicenter of construction happening east of the airport on private land.
SMARTCAP, Arlington’s first business taking advantage of Opportunity Zones, is looking to occupy its first building next month. Tenants in the 92,000-square-foot facility include Proctor Aerospace, Progressive Automation and Elemental Cidery.
SMARTCAP Chief Executive Officer Tim Schoultz called the move to build in Arlington a tremendous opportunity in terms of availability and pricing – under half the price per industrial square foot in the Seattle area.
“Last September, we really believed the area was ripe for opportunity,” Shoultz said. They expected to fill space with local tenants, but instead are drawing from places as diverse as Woodinville and Canada.
SMARTCAP backers had private funding in place within four hours of seeking investors, and were so convinced Arlington is primed for investment, they bought 11 more acres to the north to build three smaller buildings that will attract a different type of tenant.
Shoultz said they are looking in Marysville and the other side of I-5, too. They expect to add up to a million square feet in the region over the next 10 years.
The walls are being poured now and should be up soon at the 137,000-square-foot Swire Coca-Cola distribution center south of the Arlington Boys and Girls Club.
Dantrawl, a fishing and industrial supplies company, is underway with its building to the east of SMARTCAP. Redlined Industrial Park is pouring concrete for the first of what will be six buildings, and Cub Systems construction is also under way.
In the midst of activity, sections of a new road, 63rd Avenue, are falling into place that upon completion will create a new north-south bypass connecting 172nd Street NE with 188th Street NE to the north. A paved trail parallels the roadway for employees and others to use.
Just east of the airport, the 54-acre Gayteway Business Park’s first buildings are under construction, along with a pad-ready site that can handle construction for up to 325,000 square feet that backs up to the railroad.
Over near the new Arlington Valley Road, R&L Carriers will be constructing a 55,000-square-foot facility, featuring a 60-door truck terminal, with office space and a maintenance shop.
Snohomish County Councilmember Nate Nehring feels the Cascade Industrial Center’s location, with its direct access to major West Coast international trade gateways, regional transportation corridors and a robust worker pipeline are key features to attracting prospective investors to the site.
“The Cascade Industrial Center is a significant asset for job creators and workers in north Snohomish County,” he said. “Innovative worker training programs like the Regional Apprenticeship Pathways Program and AMTEC ensure a productive workforce for many years to come.”
Hayes said the CIC is one of the few areas left that has vacant, unemcumbered premium property in the region, and that’s driving investor interest.
“It’s why you see everybody coming here looking for property now,” he said. “They see the potential. The hand-writing is on the wall.”
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New and Expanding Manufacturers in CIC
Commercial Aircraft Interiors
Global Machine Works
Dungeness Gear Works
SMARTCAP Opportunity Zone
Redlined Industrial Park
IFH Group steel kiosk manufacturing
HCI Steel (relocation)
Gayteway Business Park
Rolling Farm marijuana production. processing
Swire Coca-Cola – beverage distribution