There’s a whole new look to the often-seen northwest corner of 68th Avenue South and South 228th Street in Kent that the former REI headquarters dominated for 32 years.
Chicago-based Bridge Development Partners bought the former REI property along the well-traveled West Valley Highway in 2020, demolished all four of the buildings in 2021 and earlier this year completed two new blue and white industrial buildings. The developer also built an open space (as required by city code) with picnic tables along South 228th Street that is open to the public.
The front building of 50,529 square feet is fully leased to Seattle Mainfreight Air & Ocean, a New Zealand-based transport and logistics company, according to a Bridge Development Partners spokesperson.
The 258,499-square-foot second building, marked by a Bridge Point Kent 300 sign, is still available for lease. Both buildings were completed in the spring.
Mainfreight began its operations in Auckland, New Zealand in 1978, according to its website. The company became global in 1999 with the acquisition of businesses in both Asia and the United States. Full ownership of our Asian operations was complete in 2007 and today it has several branches operating out of China, South East Asia, Japan and Korea. Expansion continued in the Americas with the purchase of Target Logistics Services in 2007.
“Whether you’re moving raw materials into Australia or taking on the world by exporting, your supply chain starts somewhere in the Mainfreight world,” according to the Mainfreight website about its air and ocean services. “Our local team can ease your international shipping worries by transitioning your products through ports and airports to ensure your products are in the hands of your customers when you need them to be.”
Bridge Development Partners bought the 15.8 acres from REI for $24.6 million in 2020 in the 6700 block of South 228th Street, according to King County property records.
REI, the specialty outdoor retailer that opened its headquarters in Kent in 1988, announced in 2020 that employees would transition to working from home or small remote campuses. The company, founded in 1938 in Seattle, had planned to move in 2020 to a new site in Bellevue, but sold that property.
From March 2019 to March 2020, the Kent City Council approved an interim ban to limit large, truck-intensive warehouses in half of the Kent Valley industrial zone. That ban ended when the council adopted new design standards and building codes in April 2020.
Bridge Development Partners announced in 2020 that Bridge Point Kent 300 is the first major project under Kent’s new code, following the moratorium on warehouse development enacted in 2019.
The new code placed strict limits on the overall footprint, loading doors and other design components, all of which Bridge was able to successfully navigate prior to closing on the site, according to the company. A portion of the southeast corner of the facility is dedicated as public outdoor space for Kent residents.
Developers must meet a number of requirements.
“Code changes sought improvements to architectural features, especially on prominent prestige corridors like West Valley Highway, and on-site mitigation for very massive high cube warehouse buildings and provision of outdoor amenities for those future employees working in proposed warehouses,” said Bill Ellis, city economic development manager, in an earlier Kent Reporter article.