A Seattle company that provides online marketing services to the automotive industry is opening an expansion office here, bringing more than 300 jobs.
The Colbalt Group already has begun moving into the Northview Corporate Center, a six-story office building at 20700 44th Ave. W. that overlooks I-5.
Since mid-February, about 125 people have started working in Cobalt’s new office, said David Peugh, a senior program manager for Cobalt. The rest are scheduled to move in during the coming months. Most of the employees in the Lynnwood office will work as Internet marketing specialists, Peugh said.
Several factors went into the decision to locate the firm’s new office in Lynnwood.
“We were looking for an area that was somewhat near Seattle, but that also could draw from other areas with a hireable workforce,” Peugh explained.
He added that the cost of office space was lower in Lynnwood than in King County. Premium office space can be found for less than $25 a foot annually in Snohomish County, while similar space in Seattle or Bellevue commands an average of more than $38 a foot.
Cobalt executives said the city of Lynnwood’s ability to handle permits quickly also was important, as the company is trying to expand rapidly to keep up with customer demand.
“Cities usually aren’t easy to deal with, but when the city’s at least trying, it helps,” Peugh said. He said Lynnwood issued its permit in a day, while other cities said they would need weeks or even months to complete permits.
David Kleitsch, the city’s economic development director, said the Lynnwood has worked hard to streamline its permitting system. It also has tried to promote Lynnwood, where more than 30 percent of the city’s space was empty as of last fall, according to Colliers International. With Cobalt’s leasing of 40,000 square feet and other deals in the works, that will change, Kleitsch said.
“We’re starting to go in the right direction,” he said. “We’ve been getting the word out to brokers and marketing Lynnwood’s value and location.”
Cobalt creates Web sites for auto dealerships and helps dealers with online advertising strategies and services. The company claims it does business with more than 40 percent of the dealerships in the U.S. The privately held company has been growing exponentially in the past year, Peugh said. Even before that, however, it was succeeding, with revenue growth of 165 percent between 2002 and 2006.
Eric Fetters writes for the Herald of Everett.