Orca Bay and Preferred Freezer cancel plans for seafood plant in Seattle on former Weyerhaeuser campus

Published on
December 19, 2016

Orca Bay Seafood and Preferred Freezer canceled their plans last week to build a USD 55 million (EUR 52.7 million) seafood plant on the former Weyerhaeuser campus south of Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., after community groups protested the development.

The Industrial Realty Group purchased the 130-acre campus in February 2016 for USD 70.5 million (EUR 67.5 million) and negotiated a deal with Orca Bay and Preferred Freezer to occupy 19 acres of the land with a 314,000 square-foot seafood plant.

A spokesperson for Orca Bay told the Tacoma News Tribune in September that the plant was a freezer facility that would not emit any odors and would largely function as a hub for distribution. Around 50 trucks would shuttle frozen Orca Bay Seafood products in and out of the facility every day.

But neighbors of the Weyerhaeuser campus flooded city council meetings to protest the plant, complaining it would be noisy and stinky and was not in line with the vision that Weyerhaeuser had of the land – a scenic site covered largely by evergreens and rolling meadows that can be accessed by trails.

Community pressure forced the city to press the realtors on details of the plans and eventually led to an effort by the city council to suspend the project for six months. According to the Seattle Times, the Industrial Realty Group sent a letter the city of Federal Way last week saying they had canceled plans to build the plant, presumably because of foreseen delays and resistance from the community.

According to its website, Orca Bay Seafoods was founded in the 1980s and is now a USD 160 million company that employs around 200 people at its current headquarters in Renton, Washington.

The Weyerhaeuser campus sits just off Interstate 5 in Federal Way, 24 miles south of Seattle. The Pacific Northwest timber giant recently moved its headquarters, along with 800 employees, to a new building in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square district.

Contributing Editor reporting from Seattle, USA

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