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New facility at Bingen Point moves step closer to reality

Port of Klickitat expansion project moves into high gear

The Port of Klickitat's latest expansion project is about to move into high gear.

Last week, the Port was successful in its effort to secure funding for the design and construction of a planned light industrial building. The facility, which will be located on Parcel 14 at Bingen Point, is expected to be at least 25,000 square feet.

"It's very big news," said Port of Klickitat Executive Director Dianne Sherwood. "It's a step closer to where we want to be to accommodate two of our tenants and permit expansion. This is very exciting."

The go-ahead comes after the Washington Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) approved the Port of Klickitat's request for a $650,000 low interest loan for the project. The loan allows the Port to defer payments for five years -- with zero interest accrual -- and then pay off the loan at one percent interest for the next 15 years after that.

Parcel 14 is directly west of Building 1B, a 9,750 square foot structure that was built in 2000.

Currently, Innovative Composites Engineering (ICE) occupies Building 1B. ICE is a manufacturer of carbon tubing, and is ready to expand. The planned new facility, which ICE will move into, will allow ICE to significantly expand its operations.

ICE, a Port tenant since 1995, has 15 full-time employees. After the move, ICE plans to add another nine employees.

Another Port tenant, The Insitu Group -- a research and development firm specializing in miniature robotic aircraft -- will move into Building 1B after ICE vacates. That will allow Insitu, which recently signed a major contract with Boeing, to increase its staff from 16 employees to as many as 48.

"There are a lot of good jobs associated with these expansions," Sherwood noted.

The Port has received funding help for the building project from several sources. In addition to the low-interest loan from CERB, the Port has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service and another $50,000 grant from the Washington Office of Trade & Economic Development.

Klickitat County has also pledged $500,000 to help cover construction costs.

The project has an estimated price tag of $2.4 million. To make up the remainder of the funding package, Sherwood said the Port will issue bonds for approximately $1 million.

"With interest rates down, right now is a great time to be issuing bonds. that's our next step," Sherwood said. "We don't anticipate any problems."

DSP Architecture of Vancouver will handle design and construction management of the project, and Bell Design Co. of Bingen will assist DSP.

"It will be designed as a `flex-building' to accommodate future users and long-term use by other postnatal tenants," Sherwood added.

Sherwood said she anticipates the building construction project going to competitive bid by October. Port officials are hopeful actual construction could begin in late fall.


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