Article: Report: Centralia Station to Provide Big Boost to Jobs, Tax RevenueOctober 21, 2016
By Justyna Tomtas, The Chronicle
Forecast: Report Shows Center’s Economic and Fiscal Impact on Lewis and Thurston Counties, Creating Hundreds of Jobs
The first study outlining the potential economic impacts the Centralia Station development will have on the community has been released.
The study, prepared for the Port of Centralia by ECONorthwest, was completed on Oct. 18.
According to the Port of Centralia Executive Director Kyle Heaton, the report shows the positive impacts the 43-acre development near the Mellen Street interchange would have.
“I think sometimes for the port it’s intuitive for the port commissioners to realize a development of this nature is going to bring in a considerable amount of tax revenue via sales property and property tax,” Heaton said. “Sometimes if you’re not working in it every day, it’s hard for leaders to understand why growth is important in this community, so the audience is not so much the commissioners as much as it is other elected officials.”
Centralia Station would be a mixed-use development site that would include retail stores, offices, restaurants and other businesses.
Separated into three parcels, the eastern section of the station’s property — the largest parcel — would house an anchor tenant, while the second section in the northwest portion would house restaurants and mid- and small-size stores.
The remainder of the 43-acre area would have medical facilities associated with Providence Centralia Hospital, enhancements to Centralia College, sports fields and green spaces.
Heaton said the port is moving forward with its permitting, and continues to work on other aspects such as a storm pond. No anchor tenant has yet been selected.
“There will be some construction in 2017, but the scale of magnitude depends on permitting,” he said.
According to the report from ECONorthwest, the $53 million construction phase of the project would require 410 fulltime employees and support 575 jobs throughout the local economy, adding $26.4 million to local labor income.
The construction period is estimated to contribute $4.6 million in state and local taxes.
“That’s traditional for these kinds of things where there is construction involved,” Robert Whelan, director of ECONorthwest, said. “Construction projects bring in a lot of money in taxes, particularly in Washington because of high construction taxes.”
The construction will trigger additional local spending, stated the forecast, which would result in a one-time impact of $76.3 million.
Once the complex opened, it would employ 535 people in Centralia at the businesses, which would include 10 stores, four restaurants, a bank and a gas station, totaling $118 million in annual sales, according to the report.
An estimated 698 people would be employed in the local economy, which for the purpose of the study was defined as Lewis and Thurston counties. Whelan referred to the broad positive impacts as a “snowball” or ripple effect. That takes place when people employed in those areas utilize local businesses, in return sustaining and creating more jobs. With the 698 jobs, there will be $22.1 million in labor income, stated the forecast.
Centralia Station would earn an estimated $118 million in annual sales and pay almost $7.1 million in state and local taxes, according to the report. In the first 10 years of operation, Centralia Station would pay the present year equivalent of nearly $5 million in property taxes.
Overall, it is forecast the businesses will contribute $40 million a year to the local economy, and will directly pay $5.6 million in state and almost $1.5 million in local taxes.
The overall fiscal impacts from ECONorthwest’s analysis determined the construction activity would result in over $3.7 million in taxes for the state and over $910,000 in local taxes.
ECONorthwest’s analysis assumes development would take place throughout the course of 2017.
“The economic impacts from businesses locating at Centralia Station start with ECONorthwest’s forecast of the types of business, their sales, and their employment,” states the forecast. “Although ECONorthwest considers its forecast reasonable and typical of the development planned, future economic conditions will affect what happens.”