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Market Conditions & Business Environment

   

Positive Transition for Federal Way

A new  mayor with a vision,supported by seasoned professionals focused on the future is constructively transitioning this previoulsy characterized "tweener suburb south of Seattle and north of Tacoma along Interstate 5.  The positive transition  is underway - in big way.

Like so many ocmmunities across the Evergreen State, the Great Recession had a signficant negative impact on local economies - Federal Way inlcuded.

However, when Federal Way's Mayor, Jim Ferrell came into office in January 2014, he did so with a vision to help define and create a downtown, along with working to diversify and sustain the economy by creating jobs and new investment.

In doing so, he first called for the formation of a "Blue Ribbon" task force to examine the viability of the long envisioned performing arts and conference facility.  This task force illustrated the need and the demand.  They presented a conservative financial plan to achieve it.  They recommended its location in the central city, an area that had been severely impacted by the closure of hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail space.

The Mayor and City Council saw even greater opportunities, a vision of creating a "Town Center," the creation of a downtown, a heart of Federal Way by the acquisition of further empty retail space in the central city.

The Town Center is 21 acres comprised of the $32.7 million performing Arts and Events Center, which broke ground in October 2015 and is expected to open in the summer of 2017.  Also, the City acquired property for a 4 acre park that is adjacent to both the performing arts facility and the City's Transit Center.  Additionally, the City released a Request for Qualifications and Request for Proposal in selecting a "Master Developer for nearly 10 acres of adjacent property to be redeveloped into art studies, galleries, office, retail, housing and a conference hotel adjacent to the Performing Arts and Events Center.  "Combined, the Town Center is estimated to be a $125 to $150 million dollar project.  "This will be the catalyst for an economic renaissance that will tranform the core of the City," said Ferrell.  Coupled with that, is yet further acreage for the purpose of educational space in the attraction of a branch university campus.

However, during this period, the longtime mainstay of the Federal Way economy, the Weyerhaeuser Company announced that it was going to move from its 430 acre corporate campus north to Seattle.  In doing so, the loss of its long time largest employer created what many thought would be a major step back for the vision.  However, the Mayor and Council saw yet another opportunity to continue to transform Federal Way.

To address the issue, the Mayor released an economic development strategy outlining six major goals and 30 objectives to be implemented over the next two years.  One of the major goals is to address the relocation of Weyerhaeuser and its campus redevelopment. Today, city staff is working to create a plan for development that achieves the vision of jobs, diversification and sustainability.

The Economic Strategy illustrates that over a two period 2015-2016, some 10,000 jobs will be created or announced coupled with $350 to $450 million in private investment.  These included the Town Center and acquisition of Weyerhaeuser along with other projects such as the $110 million rebuilding of Federal Way High School and the development of the Seattle Children's Hospital, South Puget Sound clinic.

The transformation is in progress, taking this once "tweener" community towards new heights in becoming the "Premier Location for Business in the Puget Sound."

"Achieving these goals presents a formidable challenge, but one that we are confident can be achieved," said Jeanne Burbidge, Deputy Mayor and board member of the Seattle/King County EDC.

 

Below, find  a report on the businesses and developments that have occurred in Federal Way since 2015.  This report is updated quarterly

 

Business and Development Activity Report

Resources

  • The Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County - Is a source of economic research and data for Seattle and King County, business resources, professional assistance, and important links. 
  • Federal Way Chamber of Commerce - The chamber offers important information about the community, business environment, local businesses and contacts, meetings and events, educational opportunities, and much more. 
  • Puget Sound Regional Council - Find maps, data and publications, including info on Puget Sound trends in housing, population, income, transportation; a regional profile, and vast informational resources.