Woodland port makes moves on properties

Sale of 24 acres to steel manufacturer intended to pay down debt

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The Port of Woodland has been busy in the past month, either selling land, completing groundwork on other land, or planning to break ground on even more land, all of which expand the port district’s industrial base.

On May 24 the port announced it closed on a land sale of about 24 acres at the Schurman Way Industrial Park to Brown Strauss, a Denver-based steel distributor. The port receives roughly $4.3 million in revenue from the sale, which the port says it will use to pay down debt and fund construction on another of its projects, the Rose Way Industrial Park.

In the announcement, the port noted the property had been advertised for a lease for about 20 years without attracting a tenant. The Port of Woodland Commission revised its business plan to sell underutilized property and the land Brown Strauss bought was put up for sale two years ago.

“The port has worked diligently to bring a company here to Woodland, bringing jobs and business that would benefit from the rail infrastructure funded by the Cowlitz County Commissioners in the late 1990s,” Port of Woodland Executive Director Jennifer Wray-Keene said in the announcement. “With Brown Strauss’s purchase, we will see that happen on that property.”

The purchased property has access to a railroad spur allowing for rail freight, the announcement noted. Port of Woodland Commission President Bob Wile added the sale puts the property back on the tax roll, alongside the jobs a new company in the area will bring.

“This is a huge win for everyone,” Wile said in the announcement, adding he looked forward to Brown Strauss coming to Woodland.

Schurman Way Industrial Park’s inception dates back to the 1990s with infrastructure improvements including the railroad spur, the announcement noted. The 50-acre site has current leases of port land with Peri Formworks, Tribeca Transport, AmeriGas and Hamilton Drywall.

Cowlitz Economic Development Council President Ted Sprague said the port had done “an excellent job” in getting Brown Strauss to make the purchase.

“This land sale is a great example of the Port of Woodland’s ability to be flexible and willingness to go the extra mile for job creation and capital investment,” Sprague said.

The land sale at Schurman Way will pay off $1.8 million in debt from past land purchases and construction. The remaining funds will be used on another port project meeting milestones this year, the nearby Rose Way Industrial Park, which is scheduled to break ground on June 4.

Construction on Rose Way is set to begin in mid-June by Battle Ground-based Tapani Inc., with ground infrastructure at the site set to be complete by the end of the year, the announcement stated. The port previously stated the industrial park will feature six buildings up for lease ranging from 15,000- to 25,000-square-feet, with two being constructed in 2022.

Rose Way Industrial Park isn’t the only port project being celebrated on June 4, as the ceremonial groundbreaking will be joined by a ribbon-cutting for the Centennial Industrial Park across the street. That industrial park was completed in May, and most recently the port closed on a deal to sell a lot that will feature a 15,000- to 20,000-square-foot building.

The April sale at Centennial will bring Smithco Manufacturing, Best Fit Gasket and Action Fasteners to Woodland, according to a prior port release.

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