IRG vice president talks Weyerhaeuser campus

  • Sun Jun 26th, 2016 5:00pm

Tom Messmer, vice president of special projects for Industrial Realty Group, LLC, reportedly revealed no concrete plans on what his firm will do with its recently acquired Weyerhaeuser campus.

He was willing, however, to once again describe the type of tenant IRG is seeking.

“They want a business there that’s going to be a job-producer – he emphasized that – not a job-replacer but a job-producer,”said Pete von Reichbauer, who represents the Federal Way area on the Metropolitan King County Council.

Von Reichbauer was the host of the private Wednesday breakfast meeting that invited community leaders to hear Messmer discuss where IRG stands when it comes to the 425-acre site at 33663 Weyerhaeuser Way S. in Federal Way.

Messmer’s comments closely echoed those made by IRG when the company purchased the building and the surrounding space for $70.5 million in February. Talking about his company’s plans in front of von Reichbauer’s invitation-only crowd, Messmer satisfied at least one person: von Reichbauer himself.

“Everyone I talked to said he disarmed them with his candor and openness,” von Reichbauer said. “I was impressed by the values he reflected. He talked about the importance of not just keeping jobs, but creating jobs in our region. That’s my No. 1 concern.

“He’s saying all the right things about working together for the region.”

Von Reichbauer said Messmer opened the meeting by asking the attendees what kinds of projects they had heard would occupy the Weyerhaeuser campus, drawing responses that included an education building, a Marriott hotel, residences and an “ice factory.”

While no solid intentions were made public, von Reichbauer said Messmer made overtones of trying to attract tech companies or similar tenants.

“The site is an incredibly unique site for a business park,” he said, noting that the green space and open-floor office potential should be attractive to Millennial-staffed companies who value such work atmospheres. “Our whole world, the one I grew up in, is being changed by the internet. Brick and mortar isn’t as important. The place that [Messmer] envisions will be a product of the 21st century, not the 20th century.”

The Weyerhaeuser campus was completed in 1971 and housed the corporate operations of the timber giant until the building’s sale. Weyerhaeuser announced in August 2014 it would relocate those operations to downtown Seattle, and the skeletal staff that remains in space leased from IRG by Weyerhaeuser will vacate when the new headquarters are complete.

“For the people who think about Weyerhaeuser leaving – Weyerhaeuser left,” von Reichbauer said, paraphrasing a point from Messmer and noting the parking lot at the building lately is maybe a third or a quarter full. “The company, as we think about it, really has left us already.”