Port of Seattle launches study of real estate portfolio

The Port of Seattle is taking a hard look at its real estate portfolio. This week, commissioners announced a widespread survey which may result in the sale or repurposing of existing port property.

SEATTLE - The Port of Seattle has kicked off a six-month study for a "Real Estate Strategic Plan."

It is a wide survey of port-owned or shared properties.  Port Commission President John Creighton says it was triggered by a 2013 consultant's review, which said a renovated Terminal 5 (T-5) may eventually be able to handle the biggest ships and container volumes on its own.

"You can handle 1.7 million containers just through that one terminal, and that's what the entire harbor has been handling the last few years," said Creighton on Friday.  

The port is currently conducting an environmental review of T-5, which is mostly empty.  Creighton says plans are still underway in their agreement with the Port of Tacoma and newly formed Seaport Alliance for a $300 million renovation of T-5.  

The survey will study sites as wide ranging as those near SeaTac Airport, Magnolia, Fisherman's Terminal, Des Moines, and near the Duwamish River.

What does it mean for the terminals?  Creighton says those discussions will involve the entire Seaport commissioners and notes how interested people are in the future of Terminal 46 in SoDo.  Hanjin Shipping has a lease there until 2025.  

Labor leaders have strongly suggested that it's doing better than ever, and is a solid source of middle-class jobs.  Creighton said a long-term solution may involve repurposing terminals, like 46, for industrial use. He suggested Foss Maritime, bulk storage, fishing ships, and shipbuilders could all be part of a repurposed waterfront, but those decisions are still months or years away.


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