Hermiston’s 275-acre Cook Industrial Site has been re-certified as “Project Ready” by the Oregon Business Development Department, which re-evaluates certified sites every two years.
The designation verifies that the conditions are in place so that companies looking to develop the greenfield property could begin construction within six months or less. The conditions considered for certification include the proper utilities on-site, transportation access, environmental issues, and other factors important to property developers.
Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan said the Cook site, located just off of U.S. Highway 395, is fully served by utilities including municipal water (12-inch line) and sewer (8-inch line), as well as natural gas on site. The property is served by low-cost power through the city’s municipal power utility, and features a 10MW transformer adjacent to the site. A Union Pacific Railroad spur serves the site which is less than a mile from the UP mainline, and less than four miles from Hinkle Railyard, UP’s largest rail yard in the Northwest.
“The Cook Site offers excellent transportation options for any company accessing Northwest markets thanks to the convergence of two Interstate highways just outside of Hermiston,” said Morgan. “The proximity of these two freeways, located at the center of the Northwest, means companies shipping from the Cook Site can easily access the Portland area in three hours, the Spokane area in three hours, the Seattle area in four and a half hours, and the Boise area in four and a half hours. The site is also easily accessible by corporate jet traffic, with the Hermiston Municipal Airport located less than one mile away.”
Part of the “Project Ready” certification locks-in a per-acre price at which the land owner will sell at, which is $30,000 per acre with frontage on Feedville Road, and $20,000 per acre for interior acreage on Penney Ave.
“This land price, combined with the Hermiston region’s much lower costs for new construction create a double-benefit in reducing the long-term expenses related to owning a facility,” Morgan said.
“The affordability of locating at Hermiston’s Cook Industrial site proved out in an analysis of locating a retail distribution center in the Northwest, conducted by Foote Consulting Group in 2012,” Morgan said. The Foote study looked at building a warehousing facility at similarly qualified industrial sites in Portland, Tacoma, Sacramento, and Boise, and amortized those costs at 5 percent over 15 years.
“The result showed that not only was Hermiston’s Cook Site the lowest-cost location to build, but that the low-cost building continues to benefit the company long-term through a low relative tax burden,” said Morgan. “The Foote study showed that the construction costs and property taxes combined over those 15 years, for an identical facility in Hermiston would cost a company 69 percent of the same one built in Tacoma, 49 percent of a Boise location, 33 percent of an identical facility in Portland, and 28 percent as much as it would cost in Sacramento. These savings don’t include any property tax incentives, which the City of Hermiston will extend to qualifying projects at the Cook Site, which can mean a complete abatement of property taxes on a new facility for up to five years.”
Since 2009, DuPont-Pioneer Seed, located at the Cook Site, has invested more than $70 million in new production and seed research facilities at the Cook Site. DuPont located a $35 million plant expansion at the site in 2013. More information about the Cook Industrial Site can be found on the city of Hermiston’s website.