WOODLAND — The Port of Woodland is finding no shortage of interested buyers for its new industrial park, despite the COVID-19 hit to the economy.
The port recently sold a 2-acre parcel in its Centennial Industrial Park to C&G Properties LLC, Port of Woodland Executive Director Jennifer Wray-Keene said, and plans to close several more land deals in the coming month even as the finishing touches to the park’s landscaping are put in place.
“In the next couple of weeks, we anticipate all of the land in that industrial park will be completely taken,” she said.
The port designed the 16-acre park in 2017, and was granted funds to build in in 2019 and 2020, Wray-Keene said. Construction started in November and is nearly finished. All eight lots are spoken for, but plans for a new industrial park nearby already are underway.
Woodland-based Columbia Precast Products bought two lots, about six acres, for $1.5 million to expand its production facility and add 35 jobs to the business, according to port and company officials.
The newest buyer, C&G Properties LLC, plans to bring three new companies to Woodland: Smithco Manufacturing, Best Fit Gasket and Action Fasteners, according to a port press release.
Smithco Manufacturing, which makes air circulation fans for the lumber industry, will relocate its current out-of-state facility to Woodland. Best Fit Gasket is expanding its gasket and sealant production from Puyallup, and Spokane-based Action Fasteners will expand its fastener supply business.
“The Port is excited to bring these three companies to Woodland that will support existing companies within Woodland and in the region, bringing family wage jobs and manufacturing to the Port District,” Commission President Bob Wile said in a press release.
Wray-Keene said that lot, which is about 2 acres, was sold for $390,000. The companies plan to build a 10,000 to 20,000 square foot building on the lot that should create about 28 permanent jobs.
“The commission is very dedicated to and focused on meeting the mission statement, which is creating family wage jobs,” she said. “Part of the requirements the commission looked at for interested companies were jobs per acre and pay range of those jobs.”
In the past, the port had focused on leasing out land, but Wray-Keene said in 2019 port officials realized they only attracted part of the potential customer base with that model.
By selling some land, too, she said the port will be able to finance more projects, like the coming Rose Way Industrial Park that will break ground later this year.
“When you’re going to make a significant capital investment, like building a building, sometimes leasing works with your financial plan and business plan and sometimes it doesn’t,” Wray-Keene said. “By offering land for sale we are meeting more business needs.”
That’s why even as COIVD-19 has slowed some sectors of the economy, the port has been a hive of activity, she said.
“We’re working feverishly to get as many buildings built as possible,” she said. “There’s a lot of interest in Woodland.”
That will help jump-start the local economy and feed more tax revenue into local coffers, Wray-Keene said.
“When they’re under the port, we’re paying property tax to the state, but now there’s more coming into the local area,” she said. “It will be pretty significant when you’re talking about a 10,000 square-foot building here and a 20,000 square-foot building there … These are pretty significant developments and improvements that will increase the assessed value of the area, which reduces the burden to residents and puts it on industries.”