Federal Way 2010: First 20 and the next 20 | Tom Pierson

Federal Way has seen a tremendous amount of growth in the past 20 years, and we are on target to make the next 20 years even better.

Having lived, worked and played in the Federal Way area for the past 37 years, I have seen businesses come and go, rise and fall — but the progress and growth have continued.

Some businesses have come and gone: Pay N Pak, Ernst Home Center, Pacific Coast Ford, Jafco, Pay N Save, Evergreen Truck Stop, Capitol One, Silo, REI and Metropolitan Market. Other business have stayed, some much longer than 20 years: The Quad Shopping Center, Weyerhaeuser Company, Best Buy, Marlene’s, Costco, Home Depot, Lowes, The Crossings, World Vision, St Francis Hospital, Baden Sports, two Wal-Marts, Winco, SeaTac Mall (now The Commons of Federal Way), four major hotels and H Mart.

Commercial office spaces have boomed in the past 20 years, going from three-story buildings at the most to buildings with 12-plus stories. Federal Way added more than a million square feet of office space in multiple office complexes. We witnessed the rise of building east of I-5 with companies like World Vision, Doyon, WEA and TOTE.

In today’s economy, it is not always easy to see the fruits of hard work, but they will eventually re-energize our community.

We will continue to grow and develop during the next 20 years. We will see new and bigger developments downtown. Federal Way will become more vertical and more dense, similar to Bellevue, and some will even call us “Bellevue South.” Longtime Federal Way residents often cringe at that thought. I am not sure what is wrong with having a vibrant economy where more people are coming to a city to spend money compared to a city where more people leave the city to spend money.

According to author Richard Florida: “Place is becoming more relevant to the global economy and our individual lives. The choice of where to live, therefore, is not an arbitrary one. It is arguably the most important decision we make, as important as choosing a spouse or a career. In fact, place exerts powerful influence over the jobs and careers we have access to, the people we meet and our ‘mating markets’ and our ability to lead happy and fulfilled lives.”

We have created the foundation for success in Federal Way, attracting successful companies, retaining business, expanding business and attracting a workforce that will support the growth of the city. Making Federal Way a great place is the responsibility of all sectors — businesses, schools, medical community, the arts, community sports, civic organizations, faith organizations, residents and politicians. I sincerely hope you accept the challenge to help ensure Federal Way’s continued success.