Federal Way Mayor Launches Big Economic Development Initiative

Jim FerrellJim Ferrell has begun his second year as Mayor of Federal Way by launching a comprehensive Economic Development Initiative that includes a bundle of strategies to seize opportunities to create new private sector jobs throughout the City.

Introduced in early January, Ferrell’s new Economic Development Strategy for the City is laid out in a 76-page document entitled “Some Assembly Required.”  It outlines six City goals and 30 objectives for economic development during the next two years.

Major development goals include:

  1. Providing the next generation of jobs through re-purposing of the Weyerhaeuser Campus that is being vacated as a result of that company relocating its corporate headquarters
  2. Attracting and retaining businesses to provide local jobs,
  3. Aligning education opportunities with future job growth
  4. Encouraging entrepreneurship, and
  5. Creating a sustainable, diversified economy with a global focus.

Highlights of the objectives in the Mayor’s plan include:

  • Recruiting a university branch campus to the downtown. The City is in conversations with several four-year institutions about a downtown campus that would enhance Federal Way’s city center, generate new jobs, and most importantly, increase educational and career opportunities for Federal Way and South King County residents.
  • Bringing a major new employer (or employers) to fill the Weyerhaeuser Campus. The Weyerhaeuser Corporate Campus is a nationally unique campus that can draw a marquee “Fortune 500” or “Fortune 100” business to the city.  Ferrell says that leveraging this opportunity has the potential to bring thousands of new jobs to Federal Way.
  • Developing programs to improve access to capital, and credit for local businesses. The Mayor says his office has identified a number of opportunities – from a lender’s forum to the EQ-2 program – that would make additional capital and credit resources available to help Federal Way businesses grow.
  • Creating the “IDE2A Zone” in the city core to bundle economic development incentives to retain and attract business involved in innovation, design, education, entrepreneurship and the arts.
  • Other objectives also include the continued development of the Town Center project, organizing a business summit, and a conference for Women in Business.

As a regulatory agency, a promoter of economic development, and the owner of much of the infrastructure supporting business, Ferrell says he feels it’s vital that the City actively listens to business owners and helps them solve problems. So, the Economic Development Strategy introduces “Business Connection,” a series of meetings with businesses (and open to the public) to foster dialogue to improve the business climate.

The entire 76-page report can be accessed online at www.cityoffederalway.com/EDS or by contacting Economic Development Director Tim Johnson at (253) 835-2412.