LACEY, WA-The City of Lacey stands to miss out on a one-million-sf distribution center thanks to a development moratorium it put in place late last month after three developers each tied up big chunks of the land the city had zoned for light industrial.Lacey’s community development director Jerry Litt, who didn’t see the moratorium coming, tells that the city council’s concern was that all three of the developers talked about developing million-sf warehouse-distribution buildings, which are generally low on family-wage jobs and high on truck traffic. Council members wanted to take a time out and be sure there would be enough light industrial land left for manufacturing operations, which generally employ more people at higher wages than distribution operations.As it turns out, all three developers–Teutsch Partners, Schnitzer Northwest and ProLogis–are believed to have tied up their respective parcels in large part to land the same one-million-sf tenant, Michaels Stores, the nation’s largest retailer of arts and crafts materials. Despite that, the city council is seeing its decision through and has scheduled a public hearing on the matter for July 14. As a result, it’s possible none of the developers will land Michael’s because Michael’s wants to be up and running by November 2006, leaving little time for indecision, says Michael’s broker, Chris Corr of Seattle-based GVA Kidder Mathews. “We selected three sites in Lacey to consider but with this moratorium lingering, it puts a real monkey wrench in the process,” Corr tells “It puts a cloak of uncertainty on those sites.”All three Lacey sites are located in the Hawk’s Prairie area of Lacey, where Litt says the city has zoned about 267 acres for uses that include big box distribution warehouses. Already there is Target, which has a 1.2-million-sf distribution center on 147 acres and is in the process of expanding it to two million sf, and Home Depot, which has a 760,000-sf facility on 42 acres.Corr says he is considering all available sites of 50 acres and greater between Sumner, WA and Portland, OR. Including the Lacey properties, Carr says he has tentatively identified a total of six or eight sites as potential candidates.

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