Business booming at area ports, industrial parks

Ports in Vancouver, Portland and Camas-Washougal all reporting low vacancy rates

As the Port of Camas-Washougal continues to increase construction on its properties, building is booming at other ports in the region, with both the Port of Portland and the Port of Vancouver reporting increased interest in industrial park property.

The Port of C-W’s existing 450-acre industrial park, located off state Route 14 and 32nd Street in Washougal, has had a 100-percent occupancy rate for the past four years. More than 40 companies have offices in the park, with a combined workforce in excess of 700 employees. Now, companies are interested in building on available Port land. Several projects are in the works already, including the following:

Building 18 — The next construction activity in the Port of C-W’s Steigerwald Commerce Center/Industrial Park will involve Building 18, a 49,500-square-foot metal pre-fabricated structure located on 6.2 acres east of the Waste Connections transfer station. Rotschy Inc., of Vancouver, is expected to complete construction in May 2018.

Panther RV Products, LLC, will lease 9,900 square feet in Building 18.

That leaves 39,600 square feet for other tenants.

“The available space in Building 18 will allow for flexibility for any size business and will also allow for some to expand if needed,” Port of C-W Executive Director David Ripp said.

He said local Port leaders hope more than 100 people will work in Building 18.

Stainless Cable and Railing — Meanwhile, Stainless Cable and Railing Inc., of Vancouver, is interested in purchasing a 2-acre lot from the Port of C-W and constructing three buildings in the Steigerwald Commerce Center, across the road from Building 18. One of the buildings would be a 22,850-square-foot space, while the other two would be 5,000 square feet each.

The city of Washougal Community Development Department is reviewing a Stainless Cable and Railing application for preliminary site plan approval. That would include a State Environmental Policy Act determination of non-significance. The potential purchase of the two acres by Stainless Cable and Railing would be subject to the approval of the Port of C-W Commission, and Ripp said commissioners would discuss a purchase price at that time.

Of the 120 acres in the Steigerwald Commerce Center, approximately 75 are available to lease or purchase.

Port of Portland’s industrial park market ‘strong right now’

At the Port of Portland, just seven percent of the Port’s industrial property remains available for lease or sale.

Melanie Mesaros, marine and properties media relations manager for the Port of Portland, said the Port’s business model is to sell or lease land, but it does not typically own the buildings.

She said the industrial park market is strong right now, and she referred to a real estate market review prepared by commercial real estate firm Kidder Mathews for the Port’s second quarter of 2017.

The review said the Portland industrial real estate market “stayed hot” in the second quarter of 2017, as vacancies decreased to 3.3 percent and reached their lowest point in at least 15 years.

The Kidder Mathews report said there is a total industrial market vacancy rate of 2.6 percent in the Port’s industrial area off Northeast Columbia Boulevard, near the Portland International Airport. The overall industrial market vacancy rate in the cities of Camas and Washougal is listed at 2.3 percent, and the vacancy rate in the West Vancouver area, where the Port of Vancouver is sited, is at 5.3 percent.

According to the Port of Portland Economic Impact Study, 396 tenants and sub-tenants provided 15,414 direct jobs, many of which are filled by Clark County residents — while 58 percent of people who work at the Port of Portland’s industrial properties live in Portland or Multnomah County, Oregon, nearly one-fourth (24 percent) of the jobs are filled by Clark County residents.

Tenants in the Port of Portland’s five business and industrial parks include construction, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, warehousing and distribution, business services and government agencies.

“We currently have land for sale at our Gresham Vista Business Park and Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park,” Mesaros said.

In February 2017, the Port of Portland Commission approved the sale of 74 acres to a developer to construct an $80 million Amazon fulfillment center on three lots in Troutdale Reynolds. The facility is expected to open in 2018.

Port of Vancouver prepares for new Centennial Industrial Park

The Port of Vancouver’s marine and industrial facilities are located on more than 1,600 acres. They include 800 acres of currently operating facilities and more than 600 acres for future development. Other acreage includes a commercial waterfront (Terminal 1), wetland mitigation sites and stormwater treatment facilities.

Abbi Russell, communications manager for the Port of Vancouver, said the Port has more than two million square feet of warehouse space (marine and industrial) and more than 50 tenants. Industrial tenants include businesses that build electric heaters, mold plastics, recycle metals, malt barley for beer and food industries, provide welding services and manufacture cabinetry. Marine tenants move products like grain, minerals, steel, wood pulp, transportation fuels and Subaru automobiles.

The Port of Vancouver’s newest addition is Centennial Industrial Park, a light-industrial park inside which the Port is constructing a 125,000-square-foot building.

Russell said the Centennial Industrial Building will be ideal for advanced manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, and that it can accommodate up to five additional tenants. The building is slated to be completed in October.

Future developments also include Columbia Gateway, approximately 500 acres of marine and heavy industrial property on the Columbia River.

The Port of Vancouver currently has a 99-percent occupancy rate at its industrial park. For comparison, in 2010, the occupancy rate was 82 percent.

“The Port did see a dip in occupancy from 2009-2012, in large part due to the Great Recession,” Russell said. “Our overall success in maintaining and growing occupancy can be attributed to long-standing relationships with our customers, a diversified portfolio and a creative environment for promoting economic development.”

The Port of Vancouver owns all of the land in the industrial park, with the exception of 20 acres sold to Farwest Steel in 2011 and 15 acres sold to Sunlight Supply in 2015.

According to an economic study, Port of Vancouver marine cargo activity and industrial tenants directly employ 3,238 people. Marine cargo activity creates 1,939 jobs, and industrial activity creates 1,299 jobs.

The Vancouver Energy oil transfer terminal is proposed at Terminal 5 in the Port of Vancouver’s marine area, along the Columbia River. The property is zoned heavy-industrial and served by a rail loop track the Port built as part of a $250 million rail expansion known as the West Vancouver Freight Access Project.

Russell said the loop track was completed in 2010 and is currently serving many of the Port’s existing customers, including those that move grain, minerals and automobiles.

“If permitted by the state of Washington, Vancouver Energy’s covered unloading facility would be located on the north side of the loop track, and the company would build and maintain storage tanks on an industrial lot close by,” Russell said.