Breaking Ground

Port of Kalama continues expansion

The Port of Kalama has broken ground on the fourth building at its Kalama River Industrial Park. Longview contractor Five Rivers Construction put the first shovel blade into the dirt at the two-acre site Sept 19, launching the $1.8 million project that will produce a 33,000 square foot warehouse by late spring of next year. The building is designed to house manufacturing, distribution or warehouse operations. Port Marketing Manager Merry Swanberg said the new building will help to meet a growing demand for space by existing and potential tenants. She said the port plans to begin new projects each year at the park until build-out on the available 25 acres is completed. Two similar buildings at the park were completed in 2006, and Swanberg said she had to turn tenants away while they under construction.

"Last year was painful until we had those buildings up," she said. "We had a lot of companies interested, but we didn’t have the space."

Swanberg said demand for the space comes from potential tenants who were unable to find room at the Portland and Vancouver ports.

Alan Heiman is the port’s operations manager. He said the main selling feature for tenants is the location to rail lines, the Interstate 5 and the river itself, but more importantly that such access is not crowded by traffic and city growth.

"It’s a pretty good selling feature being that close to the freeway, and that you don’t have to go through town and fight traffic to get through (to the port)," Heiman said. "So, if your main business is up and down the corridor, we’ve got a perfect location for that."

Heiman said the tenant population at the port varies from book binders to camper shell manufacturers, and that an existing tenant – industrial winch maker MileMarker – is eyeing the new building as a potential expansion to their operation there.

"They’re in the ‘talking about it’ stage right now," he said.

With the completion of the new building, Heiman said the port plans to break ground next on a 40,000 square foot warehouse building.

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