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Updated Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 09:49 AM

PSE drops plan for big Des Moines operations center

By Eric Pryne
Seattle Times business reporter

Puget Sound Energy has dropped plans for a 42-acre consolidated operations center on vacant land owned by the Port of Seattle in Des Moines, just south of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The decision was “completely a bottom-line thing,” PSE spokeswoman Terri-Ann Betancourt said Monday. The electric and natural-gas utility instead has renewed leases on operations centers in Renton, Kent and the city of SeaTac that it had planned to close if the Des Moines complex were built, she added.

“What’s better for our customers is for us to stay put for a while,” Betancourt said.

PSE’s decision is a blow to the Port and the city of Des Moines, which between them would have collected a total of about $1.7 million a year in rent and taxes

PSE was to have been the first tenant at the port’s Des Moines Creek Business Park. The Port Commission agreed in June to lease the land to the utility, but Port spokesman Perry Cooper said Monday that the contract was never signed.

PSE notified Port CEO Tay Yoshitani at the end of October that it was backing out, Cooper said. “The Port was ready to go through with the deal,” he said. “We will now continue to work with the city to attract another venture for the area.”

The Des Moines Creek Business Park is 89 acres, once covered with homes, that the port acquired and cleared 20 years ago as part of its airport noise-mitigation program.

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 and generated 200 construction jobs, according to Port documents.

The city of Des Moines said in its fall newsletter that it was counting on the project to allow the city to reduce the tax burden on its residents.

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

Eric Pryne: epryne@seattletimes.com

or 206-464-2231


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