Blue Origin buys 31 acres in Kent

Aerospace company keeps on growing as it aims to carry people into space

Kent-based Blue Origin plans to keep on growing in town as the aerospace company purchased 31 acres for $14.1 million across the street from its existing facility.

The four parcels are along 76th Avenue South between South 212th Street to South 218th Street, according to property sales records filed Dec. 21 with King County.

Blue Origin, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, continues to expand as it aims to carry passengers far into space. The company sent up a flight capsule test on its New Shepard rocket in mid-December in Texas.

“The city of Kent is thrilled to have such an exciting company as Blue Origin call our city home,” said Kurt Hanson, Kent’s Economic and Community Development deputy director, in a Thursday email. “Their headquarters here has approximately 750 employees. With this property acquisition we expect that number to increase.”

The Barnier family, under the name of Bar-Gem LLC, sold the property to Blue Origin.

“It is currently undeveloped,” Hanson said about the 31 acres. “The company plans to build a new manufacturing facility to complement their existing operations in Kent.”

Blue Origin’s current facility covers about 260,000 square feet on 26 acres at 21218 76th Ave. S. Engineering, manufacturing and business teams work at the facility.

Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke spoke about the company during her 2017 State of the City address in April.

“In pursuit of its vision of millions of people living and working in space, Blue Origin was the first to successfully design and launch an unmanned space capsule and rocket booster into space and return safely to earth – repeating that feat five (now seven) times,” Cooke said.

Cooke added Blue Origin anticipates adding hundreds of more employees in the coming years.

“An expansion project is underway on what is known as the Barnier Property near its current campus, and Blue Origin has additionally purchased a 120,000-square-foot building across the street for further growth,” she said.

Blue Origin officials could not be reached for comment about the Kent expansion.

In addition to Kent, the company’s engine and flight testing are done in West Texas (two hours east of El Paso) at the world’s only privately owned and operated launch site. The company recently completed building a 750,000 square-foot rocket-production factory in Florida at Exploration Park, an area at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral in Brevard County. Blue Origin also announced plans in 2017 to build its next-generation BE-4 rocket engines in Huntsville, Ala.

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