It was a big year for Paine Field in Everett, of course, but there were plenty of other important business stories during 2018. Here are 11 that are likely to resonate in the year ahead.
As an elegant terminal rises, 2 airlines firm up plans
Early in 2018, it looked as though passenger flights out of Paine Field might begin by year’s end, maybe even by fall. But one last hurdle arose — an updated environmental assessment by the Federal Aviation Administration, which required more public input. Still, Alaska Airlines and United Airlines seemed confident enough to begin selling tickets for 24 daily flights. (Southwest Airlines had planned to serve PAE, too, but changed course and handed its five slots to United.) Meanwhile, terminal developer Propeller Airports put the finishing touches on an elegant building that puts Everett a plane change away from just about anywhere in the world.
Message to Boeing: Build the 797 right here
In 2018, elected officials and business leaders got serious about convincing the Boeing Co. to build its next airplane model, unofficially dubbed the 797, in Washington. They hired one of the world’s top aerospace industry experts to help, and in June he told a gathering of state political, business and labor leaders, including Gov. Jay Inslee, that Washington is the most competitive state in the U.S. for aerospace manufacturing. Key factors cited in his report included electricity costs and the percentage of state residents with engineering degrees. The report didn’t delve into murkier, less quantifiable topics — for instance, political climate or labor issues. “We’re not qualified to address those,” said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of the Teal Group. “It’s our job to provide the numerical analysis.” The outlook is not all rosy: Another study concluded that a smarter workforce is needed to convince Boeing.
A taller, denser downtown Everett
The Everett City Council passed regulations allowing buildings as tall as 25 stories, banning new medical clinics on downtown’s ground level and reducing off-street parking requirements for some apartments. The Metro Everett plan to revitalize the downtown area will also place future residents closer to transit and amenities. Addiction treatment providers don’t like the ban on street-level health clinics, and some residents are worried tall buildings will create an overshadowing canyon effect on old homes in the historic Norton Grand neighborhood.
State and county prevail in high-stakes Tulalip tax lawsuit
About $40 million or more in annual taxes was at stake when the Tulalip Tribes claimed taxes collected at Quil Ceda Village should go to them and not the state of Washington or Snohomish County. The state and county prevailed in federal court. At one point during the trial, it was revealed that gaming has been a big money-maker, helping the Tribes amass nearly $1 billion in assets. Tribal leaders viewed the case as a matter of claiming rightful sovereignty over their land.
‘Suspicious’ fire destroys historic Judd & Black store
Over a century of history was erased the night fire consumed the venerable Judd & Black appliance store on Hewitt Avenue in Everett. “Probably a hundred refrigerators, a couple hundred washers and dryers,” said one employee. An early estimate pinned the loss at $3.3 million, along with the destruction of local history and a big piece of an Everett institution that has been passed down for generations. Investigators were looking at the fire as a possible crime.
Angel of the Winds begins casino expansion
With the goal of “becoming a major resort,” the Stillaguamish Tribe began work early in the year on a 300,000-square-foot expansion of its casino north of Arlington. Plans included adding amenities, such as a high-end restaurant, a new buffet, more table games and hundreds of new slot machines. The project was foreshadowed in December 2017, when the casino paid $3.4 million for naming rights to the former Xfinity Arena — now called Angel of the Winds Arena. This is the first expansion at the casino since the tribe opened a $27 million, five-story attached hotel in December 2014.
Port of Everett begins to modernize Everett wharf
The Port of Everett needed to accommodate bigger ships and heavier cargo at its south terminal wharf, which was originally built in the 1970s for log operations. Work began in the spring to strengthen the wharf with steel pilings. And two 100-foot cranes — about twice the size of existing ones — will handle larger-than-normal containers, including the kind that will bear parts for the new Boeing 777X. The port had expected the project would cost $36 million, but the bids came in lower than the engineer’s estimate.
New hotel anchors a waterfront transformation
Hotel Indigo will offer 142 rooms on Everett’s waterfront by this summer or fall. It’s a major part of the Port of Everett’s multimillion-dollar waterfront makeover. The redevelopment’s first phase is called the Fisherman’s Harbor District. Apartments, hotels, restaurants and shops are envisioned in an area once occupied by the boating and maritime industries.
Massive Point Wells development is nixed
A plan for more than 3,000 high-rise waterfront condos at the Point Wells industrial site near Woodway seems dead — sort of. Maybe. A Snohomish County hearing examiner denied the project in June, and the County Council upheld the decision in October. Meanwhile, the town of Woodway and the city of Shoreline have designs on the property, and developer BSRE Point Wells might come back with a scaled-back proposal. Stay tuned.
Good riddance, Ikea: Residents welcome new Riverfront plan
A new plan for the Everett Riverfront development’s commercial area would include a specialty grocery store, a movie theater, restaurants and, over the next 10 years, construction of up 1,250 additional residences. The property owner, Riverfront Commercial Investment, had to go back to the drawing board when Ikea abandoned a plan to build a big-box store on the 70-acre commercial site. Riverfront Commercial tried to woo Ikea for four years. Neighbors seemed generally happy that Ikea went away, saying they envisioned a walkable area with restaurants and “a sense of community.”
Retail cannabis is newest money-maker on the reservation
It’s a high-tech fortress with 62 security cameras. The windows are stylishly boarded with polished wood as a design accent. Inside is a weed wonderland. Tulalip Remedy is the first pot shop on tribal land in Snohomish County and the sixth in the state. The store sells tinctures, rubs and edibles. Indica, sativa and hybrid strains of flower. Pipes, bongs and vaporizers. Budtenders explain the ABCs of THC and CBD with user-friendly graphics and charts.