SEATTLE — Major commercial glass manufacturer Northwestern Industries could be pulling its operations out of Seattle after nearly a half a century.
For nearly 45 years, the company has created a business providing glass for countless Seattle projects, even iconic ones like the Space Needle and the newer Amazon Spheres.
The Seattle Times reports that the Northwestern Industries Seattle plant will close in February of this year.
“When I heard about what’s going on with the Northwestern, I was very disappointed," said Ardeshir Bahandari, a former employee. "There’s a lot of memories. A lot of people that I knew for years and years and to me, it was pretty sad."
Bahandari worked at the Seattle plant near Fishermen's Terminal for more than 20 years. He left four years ago but returned on Friday to get what could be a last look at the plant.
“I heard the news from one of my buddies and I had the day off today and maybe I should come down and say hello and show them my sympathy and say you know ‘what happened?’” Bahandari said.
Days before the new year, California-based Glasswerks announced it had taken ownership of Northwestern Industries, both the Seattle plant and one in Yuma, Arizona.
In a statement, Glasswerks announced all Yuma staff will stay on board but made no mention of Seattle.
“This should fall on the radar of our city leaders as we think about how do we keep some of the industrial jobs here, how do we keep some of the people here who helped make the city what it is? How do we carry them into the future?” said Jeff Shulman at the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington.
Business experts point to both the high cost of living and high cost of housing for the reason Northwestern Industries is considering leaving.
"There are people that worked here for 40 years and all of a sudden they pulled the plug,” Bahandari said.
KING 5 made several attempts to contact Northwestern Industries for a comment and have yet to hear back.