The former REI headquarters in Kent will soon be demolished to make room for two state-of-the-art industrial facilities totaling 309,028 square feet.
Chicago-based Bridge Development Partners announced Dec. 17 the acquisition this month of the REI property at 6750 S. 228th St. Demolition is expected to begin immediately and take 30 to 60 days to complete, according to a Bridge Development spokesperson. The new project is scheduled to be completed and ready for occupancy in the first quarter of 2022 on the 15.85-acre site.
REI, which opened its headquarters in Kent in 1988, announced earlier this year that employees would transition to working from home or small remote campuses. The company, founded in 1938 in Seattle, had planned to move this year to a new site in Bellevue, but sold that property and now has sold the Kent land.
Bridge Point Kent 300 plans to feature a 258,499-square-foot building with 36-foot clear heights, 32 exterior docks, 27 stalls for trailer parking, 296 stalls for car parking and two drive-in doors, according to a company press release. A second proposal is for a 50,529-square-foot building that will feature 32-foot clear heights, 11 exterior docks, 102 stalls for car parking and two drive-in doors.
“We’re excited to begin work on Bridge Point Kent 300, and transform this property into a state-of-the-art industrial campus,” said Justin Carlucci, partner for Bridge’s Northwest Region, in a press release. “This development will serve Seattle’s growing base of industrial users and create immense value for the city of Kent, the facility’s tenants and the 1.4 million highly-skilled employees living within a 30-minute drive. A project of this caliber would not have been possible without the support of the city, and we thank the many municipal officials for their cooperation to ensure we met all necessary requirements while continuing to further the city’s growing reputation as the region’s premier industrial hub.”
With a tenant still to be lined up, the business that ends up at the property remains to be determined.
Bridge Point Kent 300 will offer immense value to tenants seeking a high-quality industrial space in a prime location, according to the press release. Located less than 20 miles from Seattle’s Central Business District, the development offers direct access to Interstate 5, Interstate 405 and State Route 167. Additionally, the site boasts easy access to the Port of Seattle and the Port of Tacoma, which combined make up the fourth-largest container gateway in North America.
Bridge Development Partners LLC (bridgedev.com) is a privately owned firm that focuses on the acquisition and development of Class A industrial real estate in the supply constrained core industrial markets of Los Angeles/San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, New Jersey/New York, Seattle and London. Since its inception in 2000, Bridge has successfully acquired and developed more than 44 million square feet of industrial buildings and projects valued at more than $7.5 billion.
The company has been active over the last year or so in the Seattle area and the Pacific Northwest with the acquisitions and developments, including Bridge Point Kent 100 in Kent, Bridge Point Lacey in Seattle, Bridge Point Sumner 60 in Sumner and Bridge Point I-5 in Portland.
Late last year, Bridge Point announced the acquisition of an 11.45-acre property at 701 15th St. SW in Auburn, where it plans to launch the development of a single, 206,155-square-foot flexible industrial building called Bridge Point Auburn 200.
Kent city officials were pleased to see the property move so fast after REI decided to sell.
“We are encouraged that we could see living wage jobs housed at this site in the future,” said Bailey Stober, city communications manager, in an email. “We are confident no matter what the redevelopment ends up being that it will meet our new design standards, provide a beautiful campus, provide active public outdoor space and consider transportation modes in the development.”
The Kent City Council approved an interim ban to limit large, truck-intensive warehouses in half of the Kent Valley industrial zone from March 2019 to March 2020. That ban ended when the council adopted new design standards and building codes in April.
Several representatives of local developers were against the ban, but worked with city officials to help come up with a new ordinance.
Council members Bill Boyce, Brenda Fincher and Satwinder Kaur expressed appreciation last March of the cooperation between staff and city businesses for working to come up with a plan that is a win-win for both sides.
Mike Pruett from Segale Properties spoke in support of the city’s Rally the Valley Subarea Plan at that March council meeting. Pruett expressed appreciation of staff working with Segale to address all comments and concerns as the company opposed the interim ban that limited warehouses to 125,000 square feet.
Pruett asked the council to remember that the Kent industrial area and warehousing in general are huge employers in the valley and that they are key contributors to the overall city budget. Implementing and adopting this plan gives Segale the ability to develop their properties while remaining competitive in the market.
Bridge Development Partners announced in its release that it is the first major project under Kent’s new code, following a moratorium on warehouse development enacted in 2019.
The decision 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 will be dedicated as public outdoor space for Kent residents.
Bill Ellis, the city’s chief economic development officer, said the new project will be a good fit for what city leaders envision.
“As staff and elected officials stated before (ordinance) passage and the evening of Rally the Valley adoption, the proposed changes never intended to eliminate trucking uses or warehouses as allowable build types, but sought to modernize industrial land use codes and get ahead of the red hot development pressures in those changes,” Ellis said in an email.
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 mitigations for very massive high cube warehouse buildings and provision of outdoor amenities for those future employees working in proposed warehouses,” Ellis said. “Bridge is seeking to comply with these requirements and is in design review right now discussing how to meet the new code with Economic and Community Development staff.”