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Auburn's economy perking up, economic development manager says
Auburn's economy is smiling for the first time since 2008.
Such was the message Auburn Economic Development Manager Doug Lein brought to the members of the City's Commitee of the Whole Monday.
And he had plenty of positive numbers to buttress his optimism.
According to Lein's report, "What's happening in Auburn, Mid 2013," as of the end of August, the City had issued 314 permits either for construction of single-family homes or for additions and alterations to existing structures, showing a total valuation of $69.3 million. That compares favorably to the 288 permits the City had issued by the same time last year, having a total valuation of $66 million.
In the commercial sector, the City had issued 265 commercial permits as of the close of August, with a valuation of $112 million, compared to 182 to date last year with a total valuation of $55 million. The commercial valuation number does not include the future Trek Apartments on the old Cavanaugh block, any Green River Community College projects or any of O'Reilly Auto Parts' several commercial projects.
"Those projects are probably north of $35 million, and they are close to being issued right now," Lein said. "We're way ahead of last year in those areas."
As of August, the City had issued 146 new business licenses, down from 196 for the same period in 2012.
"The licenses that are being issued are multiple-employee-type companies, rather than the trend that we had for a couple years before — a lot of one-person, home businesses that people started when they couldn't find employment," Lein explained.
Sales tax revenue was $9.2 million, up $900,000 over the $8.3 million at the same time last year.
The real estate excise tax collections were $1.3 million, compared to $883,000 as of August of 2012.
As of the end of August, the City had applied for $4.2 million in grants and received about $5 million. No figures were available for the same time period last year.
To translate those figures into brick, mortar, wood and glass, here are some of the commercial projects in progress right now:
• The Trek Apartments, groundbreaking at 2 p.m. Oct. 10 on Main Street.
• The Outlet Collection | Seattle: Glimcher's $34 million upgrade of the SuperMall; the grand opening is Oct. 17.
• Orion Industries: trainer of disadvantaged workers, 108,000-square-foot building, 1590 A St. NE; valuation $11.5 million; 250 employees; broke ground June 7; expect to be operational by the end of the year.
• Auburn Marketplace, 31,000 square feet of medical offices owned by The Franciscan Group, on 10th Street across from Fred Meyer. The Franciscan Group should have its certificate of occupancy by the end of October with tenant improvements to follow, leading up to the grand opening this December.
• Glacia Nova/Glacier Water Company, 40,000-square-foot bottling plant on 15th Street Southwest, anticipates opening in the spring of 2014 and to launch its product world wide at that time. The company bottles water from the Carbon River, which is fed by the Carbon Glacier on Mt. Rainier.
• Hospital Central Services Association: hospital laundry, 144,000-square-foot building, 1600 M St. NW; valuation $10.3 million; 165 living-wage jobs; opened in June.
• Novinium: engineering firm; conversion of 21,000-square-foot building, 1221 29th St. NW; relocated for expansion from Federal Way; 50 living-wage jobs; opened June 7.
• O'Reilly Auto Parts: two newly constructed retail stores, Auburn Way North; ribbon cutting December 2013.
• Jimmy Johns, "World's Greatest Gourmet Sandwiches": new building, Auburn Way North, across from Top Food; ribbon cutting December 2013.
• Hop Jacks: restaurant serving burgers and beer, 1402 Lake Tapps Parkway; opened in August.
• Don Giovanni Ristorante: family-owned, premium Italian restaurant; opened in June.
• Green River Community College Trades and Industry building: $10.5 million; ribbon cutting 2014.