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State funds projects to tee up large-scale development opportunities in Spokane


April 3, 2014

Advanced Planning Grant Program enabled by 777X incentive legislation

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced the award of two grants totaling $725,000 to the City of Spokane and Snohomish County’s Paine Field to advance environmental permitting efforts and help prepare sites for large-scale manufacturing development.

Paine Field will receive $400,000 to conduct environmental review for the approximately 840,000-square-foot Aerospace Business Park planned for the west side of the airport. While no specific tenants have been identified, the phased development proposes a number of large buildings ranging in size from 100,000 to 250,000 square feet available to aerospace suppliers that would benefit from being in close proximity to The Boeing Company’s Everett assembly site.

The City of Spokane will receive $350,000 to continue work in environmental pre-planning for an area known as the West Plains. A consortium known as AIR Spokane, that includes the city of Spokane, Spokane County, Spokane International Airport, Avista Corp., community colleges of Spokane and Greater Spokane Incorporated, has been working since 2011 to position more than 6,500 acres of developable land, for aerospace and other manufacturing activities. The city of Spokane recently developed a sub-area plan for the West Plains and is using that effort as a springboard. Through this grant, Spokane will identify critical mitigation needs for future industrial employers locating in the West Plains and develop plans to mitigate those impacts.

“The land around Paine Field and Spokane International Airport provides some of the greatest opportunities in Washington for large-scale aerospace manufacturing,” said Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce. “This funding will help get these properties ready to go so companies can hit the ground running when they choose to establish new or expanded operations on either side of our state. Promoting broad-based, geographically diverse job growth is core to Governor Inslee’s economic development strategy for a working Washington.”

The Advanced Planning Grant Program was created by the Washington State Legislature in November 2013 during the special legislative session called to help the state win the Boeing 777X program. The Legislature appropriated $2 million in the current biennium to help local jurisdictions advance environmental review and permitting in and around large manufacturing sites. The Spokane and Everett projects are the first two to be awarded grants under the program. Another $1.1 million will be available for additional projects in Fiscal Year 2015.
“We appreciate the enthusiastic support of Governor Inslee and the Washington State Department of Commerce for Paine Field and our planned Aerospace Business Park,” said Snohomish County Executive John Lovick. “Not only did they recognize it as a Project of Statewide Significance last summer, they have now provided us a $400,000 grant that will help us position the airport as a premier location for aerospace companies looking to expand or build new facilities. We’re confident that these investments will bring new family-wage jobs to Snohomish County.”

“Spokane’s West Plains is one of the fastest growing industrial areas in eastern Washington,” said Spokane Mayor David Condon. “It is already home to three major aerospace suppliers and Fairchild Air Force Base, eastern Washington’s largest employer. This grant will help us work through complex permitting issues, such as stormwater and transportation impacts, and will further our efforts to bring new jobs to the Spokane region. At the same time, these plans will ensure that new employment opportunities are consistent with the viability and competitiveness of the existing engines of job creation on the West Plains, including Fairchild Air Force Base.”

“This is an incredibly exciting time for the aerospace industry in Washington,” said Alex Pietsch, director of the state’s Office of Aerospace. “Following the decision to build the 777X and its carbon fiber wing in Washington, we know that companies from around the world want to be here. Yet, competition for these developments and the jobs that come with them is intense. Having large, ready-to-build sites in strategic locations around the state opens up options that make us that much more competitive.”
 

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