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.

More in Business

Credit card service provider moves to Kent

Company contracts with credit unions

Minuteman Press opens in Kent

For the Reporter Minuteman Press – a full-service printing and marketing design… Continue reading

County’s new solid waste disposal rate to support facility upgrades, service improvements

A small increase in King County’s solid waste disposal rates takes effect… Continue reading

Workshop helps property owners deal with alder trees

Red alder can be a vexing species for property owners as older… Continue reading

‘In it for the long haul’

Members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302 (IUOE) picket… Continue reading

Brown Bear Car Wash celebrates 61rst birthday on Aug. 23 with free car washes

Brown Bear Car Wash turns “61” next Thursday, Aug. 23, and celebrates… Continue reading

Labor market takes a step up in July

State’s unemployment rate of 4.7 percent matches a historical low

SHAG & Independent Living, Inc., hosts career fair Aug. 17

SHAG & Independent Living, Inc., hosts a career fair on Friday, Aug.… Continue reading

Kent Downtown Partnership invites public to participate in online survey

Purpose is to gain feedback, help KDP’s board set short and long-term goals for the downtown’s future

King County Library System’s new eCard is available

Provides online access opportunity for users

$5 million available to help customers pay their PSE bills

Funds available for customers in 10 counties, including Seattle and Tacoma

Kent CrossFit plans Officer Moreno fundraiser

Workout event set for Aug. 11