Evergreen Plastics moving to Vancouver

Bottle-manufacturer among firms leaving the Portland area

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

Published:

 
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Clark County has landed a plastic bottle manufacturer from Portland, adding to a growing list of companies that plan to cross the state line.

Owners of Evergreen Plastic Container say they were drawn to the county by their new site at Northeast 47th Avenue and 68th Street, which gives them room to expand operations. The company's husband-and-wife owners Helen Nguwen and Vincent Do also were attracted by cheaper power rates and the absence of a state income tax on the Washington side of the Columbia River. The couple purchased their 5.2-acre industrial site for $1.24 million.

They expect to start constructing a 50,000-square-foot building next month and open the facility by the end of the year. Evergreen Plastic Container, with 30 employees, manufactures bottles for water, soft drinks, milk and juice. ?The site, within Vancouver's growth boundary but considered part of unincorporated Clark County, was already approved for development, said Eric Fuller, president of Eric Fuller & Associates Inc. commercial real estate firm, which represented the buyers.

"It will take less time to develop than a green-field site," Fuller said.

Nguwen and Do bought the tract from husband-and-wife business partners Marty Rifkin and Kate Jones, former owners of gummy vitamin maker Northwest Natural Products, which Princeton, N.J.-based Church & Dwight Co. acquired in 2012. The parcel and an additional 5-acre tract were originally planned as a development called Parkside Commerce Center to serve as a campus for Northwest Natural Products.

"It was a perfect fit" for the plastics company, said Ron Frederiksen, CEO and owner of Vancouver-based RSV Construction Services Inc., who worked with Nguwen and Do.

Do said Evergreen Plastic Container plans to relocate its entire operation from leased space at 7820 N. Leadbetter Road in the Port of Portland's Rivergate Industrial District.

"The benefit" of the site, Do said, "is owning versus renting, the tax incentive and more space."

The couple plans to expand the business in the future by adding another 40,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Do said Evergreen Plastic Container manufactures about 100 million plastic containers annually.

Company leaders also said fee waivers were an incentive to build the new facility and look into future expansion, said Frederiksen, whose company will act as the project's general contractor.

"The building fees and traffic impact fees were waived, and that really helped them," he said.

Evergreen Plastic Container's move is one among several recent relocation announcements from firms planning to relocate to Clark County sites, including at least two others from the Oregon side of the border. Other recent moves include:

• Banfield Pet Hospital, which bills itself as the nation's largest veterinary practice, announced plans earlier this month to relocate its 600-employee headquarters from Portland and build a 250,000-square-foot office complex in the Columbia Tech Center development at Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard and 184th Avenue.

• Health care giant PeaceHealth moved its headquarters in 2011 from Bellevue to east Vancouver. The nonprofit, like Banfield Pet Hospital, was attracted in part by Clark County's high-ranking school systems and housing that is considered fairly affordable in the Portland metropolitan area.

• One year ago, Portland-based telecommunications company Integra also announced a headquarters move and is in the midst of transferring at least 500 employees from Portland to space on the former Hewlett-Packard campus in east Vancouver.

Real estate brokers say the moves verify the allure of Clark County's development-ready parcels, state income-tax-free environment and a holiday excusing commercial projects from development fees. However, for some company leaders the location must be convenient — close to home, suppliers and clients — factors that are often more important than incentives, Fuller said.

Owners of Evergreen Plastic Container are based in Clark County and their company annually ships its products to clients within a 500-mile radius of the Portland area, Do said.