New five-story structure could hold up to 700 employees
Construction will get underway in July on a new building located on the 150-acre Fisher Investments campus in Camas.
According to the Fortune 500 company’s founder, chairman and CEO, Ken Fisher, the five-story structure will be identical to the one that currently sits on the property and is the workplace for 450 employees.
Construction is expected to take approximately one year to complete. The contractor will be Portland-based Howard S. Wright Construction, the same company that built Fisher Investment’s first Camas building.
The new building will have the potential to house 700 employees, but Fisher said only time will tell how quickly it might fill up.
“We obviously envision we can use the building, or we wouldn’t be building it,” he said.
Fisher, who is also a Forbes columnist and author of 10 books, said a number of factors come into play when making the decision to expand.
“You do it based on what I view as your best guess as to what the future holds for the company,” he said, adding that Fisher Investments is currently in a position where it is gaining business and its senior management team feels comfortable making the decision to grow.
Fisher Investments’ headquarters is located in Woodside, Calif. The Woodside facilities were built by Fisher Investments in three phases, beginning in 1990 and ending in 1998. The firm also has offices in San Mateo, Calif., as well as England and Germany, and sales operations throughout the U.S.
A total of 600 employees work out of the California offices.
In February 2007, Fisher Investments opened offices in Vancouver at Columbia Tech Center. In fall 2011, the firm moved into its newly constructed five-story building in Camas, which is also home to a one-story structure for its processing and printing operations.
Fisher said the decision to build the second tower in Camas is not related to any future decision about the potential relocation of its headquarters from Woodside, Calif. He said more important than the question of where the “headquarters” will be located, is where the employees are located.
“In this day and age, where the headquarters is may not have anything to do with where the employees go,” he said.
Fisher said among the benefits the Clark County area offers are its close proximity to the Portland International Airport, lack of a state income tax, and ease of access to Portland that allows residents to take advantage of the attributes available on both sides of the river.
“There are also the features that sometimes could be referred to as the more ‘Norman Rockwell’ like life in this area, compared to the Bay Area,” he said. This area is a lot like the Bay Area was in the 1950s. Some people might look at that statement for the good and the bad.”
He added that working with local government officials in Camas has been an overall positive experience, compared to that of California, which he described bluntly as “hell.”
“The city [of Camas] as an organizational structure has been top notch,” he said.
Mayor Scott Higgins said he is pleased about Fisher Investments’ recent announcement to expand in Camas.
“We had anticipated it, and we are thrilled,” Higgins said. “This is really great news for Camas. It’s going to bring jobs into our community.”
Higgins said many of the company’s employees have made Camas their home as well.
“There is no question they are becoming part of the Camas community,” he said. “There are a high percentage of people who work there who are living in Camas.”
In March, the city broke ground on the $4.8 million Northwest 38th Avenue/Southeast 20th Street extension, which is flanked by property that is zoned for commercial development, and connects with the nearby Fisher Investments,
The project will extend Northwest 38th Avenue approximately two-thirds of a mile west to the rapidly developing 192nd Avenue corridor.
Higgins said the decision by Fisher Investments to expand sends a positive message about the city, and what it can offer.
“There is a buzz about our community, and there has been for a while,” he said. “Each announcement like this really creates excitement and brings attention to our community. It all helps to let people see there is a reason companies want to be in Camas.”