By Jack Stubbs
As the Puget Sound continues to expand through the creation of new occupational and economic opportunities, various leading Pacific Northwest companies are looking to strengthen their presence in the region—Kent, a city in South King County, is one such area that continues to be regarded as a focal point for present and future activity in the industrial real estate market.
On December 24th, Blue Origin LLC, an entity affiliated with the Jeff Bezos-owned aerospace company Blue Origin, spent $17 million, or around $177 per square foot, to acquire a heavy industrial/warehouse building in Kent, a city that has served as the headquarters for the company since its founding in 2000. The seller of the asset was Flying Horse Properties LLC based in Ellensburg, WA, King County records show.
The subject property, which is located at 21719 84th Ave. S. and sits on just over four acres, is a 95,763 square foot manufacturing building originally constructed in 1997, according to public documents. As of September 2019, there were just over 95,700 square feet available for lease, according to the listing on officespace.com.
According to Google Maps, the building is currently occupied by GCM North American Aerospace LLC, a company that manufactures aviation machinery and parts, and serves aerospace industries throughout the State of Washington.
The property is approximately two miles north of downtown Kent and proximate to State Route 167, and is also roughly one mile from Blue Origin’s headquarters, which are located at 21218 76th Ave. S.
Over the last few years, the city of Kent has been taking steps to evaluate where regional occupational opportunities might come from in the future. According to Kent Mayor Dana Ralph, who spoke at a September 2018 event hosted in Seattle called “Female Mayors in Puget Sound Region”—at which several mayors throughout the region discussed growing issues around growth at a time when the Puget Sound region continues to expand further south, and further afield from the downtown cores of cities like Bellevue and Seattle—one potential source of future economic growth is aerospace company Blue Origin, which was founded by Jeff Bezos in September of 2000 and is currently stationed in Kent.
“We’ve taken a couple of steps back and are re-envisioning what our city looks like…there’s a whole group of rocket scientists that are hanging out in the Kent Valley,” Mayor Ralph said at the event in late 2018. “And we know that along with that growth, there’s a whole host of advanced manufacturing jobs and ancillary businesses to support that.”
The presence of various companies like Blue Origin continues to be spurred forward in part by the aerospace industry, which has over the last few years continued to have an impact on the Puget Sound region’s industrial market. As one example, in May of 2000, aerospace giant Boeing announced its plans for the 200-acre Pacific Gateway Business Park, which called for more than 2 million square feet of industrial, warehouse and distribution facilities.
In April 2019, Auburn, WA-based Latitude Development sold off half of its 102,500 square foot Latitude Business Park development located at 415 Riverside Rd. in Everett for $22.17 million, or about $216 per square foot. The property, which at the time of the sale was occupied by Northwest Aerospace Technologies (NAT), was purchased by Bellevue, Wash.-based Pine Forest Properties.