Des Moines dealt a blow as Puget Sound Energy backs out of business park

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has announced that it will not be moving to the Des Moines Creek Business Park. The news comes as a blow to the city, as the move could have potentially doubled sales tax revenue annually.

Des Moines staffers were counting on the project to reduce the tax burden on its residents.

“We’re very disappointed, we’ve been working at it for some period of time with the Port (of Seattle) and obviously for whatever reason it doesn’t pencil out,” said Mayor Dave Kaplan. “We would have loved to have them, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.”

“The stability of this revenue stream would have been wonderful,” said City Manager Tony Piasecki. “In short, we’re very disappointed. However we understand they made a business decision.”

The decision was “completely a bottom line thing,” PSE spokeswoman Terri-Ann Betancourt said. “What’s better for our customers is for us to stay put for a while.”

PSE decided that it’s more economical to postpone consolidation of its south King County operations until at least 2018, Betancourt said.

Instead of consolidating all the facilities in one big yard, the electric and natural gas utility renewed leases on operations centers in Renton, Kent and SeaTac.

PSE would have been the first tenant at the port’s Des Moines Creek Business Park.

Once it was fully operational which would have been two to three years from now, the city could have anticipated a nice little stream of revenue happening on an on-going basis, said Piasecki.

“For the last year and a half, if not longer, PSE has been looking at the northern half of the Des Moines Creek Business Park,” said Piasecki. “The Port of Seattle approved the ground lease and PSE was ready to sign when someone said ‘we need to look at all the costs again.’”

Piasecki added that just a couple of weeks ago they decided it was too expensive.

PSE’s plans called for a 281,000-square-foot warehouse, substation, 21-acre storage yard and possibly a three- to five-story office building. The $100 million project, at 24th Avenue South and South 208th Street, would have employed 250 people and generated about 200 construction jobs, according to Port documents.

Mayor Kaplan said that the city will continue to work with the Port to find tenants that will be of benefit to the Port and the city.

The city is going to start early next year to on roadway improvements on that property. The two-lane road will become a five-lane road.

“Those improvements will make developments in the business park more attractive,” Kaplan said.

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