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"What price growth...?"
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Published October 28, 2006

Warehouse firms eye airport area

By: Jim Szymanski

A market for major distribution warehouses might be developing near Olympia Regional Airport.

A company from Sacramento, Calif., is the latest to investigate building a sprawling warehouse on 20 acres near the airport.

Panattoni Development Co. has submitted tentative plans to the county to build a 390,900-square-foot warehouse at 2901 93rd Ave. S.W.

Since last year, ProLogis of Denver has been investigating whether to build a 375,000-square-foot warehouse on the Port of Olympia's New Market Industrial campus next to the airport.

Both companies wants to develop in South Sound because it offers affordable land and the sites are close to Interstate 5.

The Kent Valley in King County, and areas near Sumner and Puyallup developed earlier than Thurston County as warehouse markets. But as those areas lose land on which to build, developers are looking to South Sound.

"We're next, that's what developers tell us," said Mike Kain, planning manager for Thurston County.


Olympia Regional Airport offers developers some of the same advantages they find near Kent and Puyallup: nearby highways for delivery trucks and proximity to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the ports of Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia, said Sally Alhadeff, who is in charge of property business development for the Port of Olympia.

ProLogis has not yet decided whether to lease port land, but Alhadeff said she expects it to begin warehouse construction next spring.

The Panattoni project is not as far along.

Panattoni began informal discussions with county planners last month.

The growth of warehouse construction has been happening too quickly for some South Sound communities. Tumwater passed a temporary moratorium last year. Lacey has banned all distribution warehouses larger than 200,000 square feet because of concerns about the cost of strengthening the city's roads to handle more delivery trucks.

E.J. Zita, who lives near the proposed airport warehouses, said residents are concerned about effects from the projects.

"Our concerns are flooding, loss of trees, traffic and the loss of quality of life in the neighborhoods," she said. "These projects need to be considered for their cumulative impacts."

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