KALAMA — Two businesses housed in the Port of Kalama’s new industrial building will open Friday, bringing nearly 30 jobs and opportunity for growth to the area, according to port and other officials.
Marco Industries and Bridger Steel are moving into the 120,000-square-foot location this week. Bridger produces steel siding and roofing, and Marco makes components for metal roofing. Port Executive Director Mark Wilson said the new building and tenants fit in with the port’s mission.
“This is a job-creator opportunity for us,” Wilson said. “We have two new tenants coming in that will support the building industry.”
The new building is at 2550 North Hendrickson Drive, south of the Kalama River Road exit and west of Interstate 5. Bridger and Marco each will lease 30,000 square feet, taking up 66 percent of the warehouse-style building. Bridger also leases a 10,000-square-foot covered area for loading trucks. The port still is looking for tenants to fill the remaining 50,000 square feet.
Montana-based Bridger Steel will hire six to 10 employees, but company officials say that number will double in about three years. Marco Industries, based in Oklahoma, is relocating its Portland facility to Kalama, bringing 10 employees. The company previously said it could hire more employees as business allows.
The port has five similar light industrial buildings in the same space as the new one. The latest one was put up under the same model as the earlier ones: Marco Industries and Bridger Steel signed up to lease warehouse space last November, before the port began work on the building. Wilson said the port has built the other light industrial buildings ahead of clients leasing the spaces.
The $8 million project was an easier investment decision for the port commission because Marco and Bridger agreed to lease it before construction began.
Bridger will pay the port $139,000 annually under a three-year lease. Marco will pay $164,500 annually for a three-year lease. Both deals include four one-year options to extend the agreements.
Wilson said the port still has land available to build another similar-size building next door. That project is still a ways out, he said, but the port is eyeing the design work for 2019. Once that building takes shape, the port will have completed development on the west side of North Hendrickson Drive through the industrial park, Wilson said.
Bridger and Marco are the latest additions to the steel manufacturing sector developing at the port. The companies join other steel businesses at the port, including Steelscape, CE Metal Fabrication and Aero-Vac Alloys and Forge.
“We really like the integration of an existing tenant with the two new tenants,” Wilson said. “It’s nice to have those work together.”
The port is holding a grand opening at the new building from 4 to 7 p.m Friday. The event is free and open to the community. It will include a raffle, games, food, music and more. Wilson said the companies are very community-minded and want to let people know they want to be part of the community.