Wetland is promised land for possible development

City: PAPÉ Industries, an exclusive distributor for Kenworth, interested in buying commercially-zoned property

Auburn staff have classified the 8.25 -acre, city-owned property at 302 Lund Road as a Category 2 wetland.

As a soggy, vacant, undeveloped, stand-alone parcel in the M1 Industrial Zone, the land isn’t worth much.

But as a wetland mitigation site for a commercial development that proposes to combine parcels at nearby 922 and 940 West Main St., it could be key to bringing into Auburn a significant new employer and a healthy number of jobs.

In late August, PAPÉ Industries, which leases and maintains heavy-duty equipment and is the exclusive distributor for Kenworth’s 18-wheel trucks, submitted a letter of intent to the City to buy the property.

As Josh Arndt, senior economic development officer for the City, told the City Council about that letter Monday at City Hall, PAPÉ Industries is interested in opening a PAPÉ-Kenworth Dealership in Auburn.

“A business like this would bring an expected 35-to-40 new jobs to our community, spread out among management, sales, technical and operational positions,” Arndt said, adding that the company estimates those positions would pay an hourly wage 40 percent higher than Auburn’s present average.

Of keen interest to city ears, Arndt noted that the company expects to make an initial economic investment in Auburn in the range of $4 to $5 million in land development and construction.

“The best part of all this is that this business not only creates jobs and brings higher wages with it, but produces sales tax revenue. When (PAPÉ) looked at six other properties it owns in the Pacific Northwest Region, each brings in an average of $1.5 to $3 million annually in taxes they pay,” Arndt said.

Of course, there are many hoops to jump through before any of that happens, including completion of estimates of the value of the property acceptable to both sides, and the company’s own feasibility studies, among other steps.

To provide for the overall enhancement of the area, in 2006 the City paid King County $180,000 for the parcel.

In 2011, Auburn environmental staff compiled a wetlands analysis report that determined the property to be a Category 2 wetland but found at the same time it offered a high potential for wetland enhancement to compensate for off-site wetland impacts.

When the city got the deed from King County, a covenant that said the city could use the property for any purpose compatible or associated with water quality, and it applies to any entity that buys the property.

More in News

Waste haulers resume full services in Auburn

Auburn’s waste haulers are back up and running after the winter storm.… Continue reading

Measles outbreak prompts health officials to encourage vaccinations

By MultiCare Health System, for the Auburn Reporter Editor’s note: Measles is… Continue reading

Auburn student awarded prestigious PLU scholarship

Ryan Naff, a student at Auburn High School, has been awarded a… Continue reading

Rep. Stokesbary sponsors student in House Page Program

Sponsored by 31st District Rep. Drew Stokesbary, home-schooled student Collin Ennis spent… Continue reading

Judge sentences man to 35 years in prison for 2016 Auburn murder, arson

Accomplice, who pleaded guilty to the same crimes, will spend 37 years in prison

Joel, a second-grader at Pioneer Elementary, designed this custom soap/sanitizer dispenser. COURTESY, Happy Hands
Auburn students named as finalists in nationwide design contest

Three Auburn students have been selected as finalists in the nationwide SC… Continue reading

Former two-term state Senator Joe Fain has a new job – president and CEO of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce. REPORTER FILE PHOTO
Bellevue Chamber of Commerce selects Fain as new president and CEO

The Bellevue Chamber of Commerce announced Friday that it had selected former… Continue reading

President’s emergency declaration sparks immediate legal backlash

Attorney General Bob Ferguson said his team will sue the White House if federal funds originally intended for Washington state are interrupted.

Auburn Police arrest Kent man suspected in hit-and-run incident that seriously injured boy

Auburn Police have arrested a Kent man suspected of being the driver… Continue reading

Most Read