Business

New tenant in negotiations for big chunk of former GP tissue warehouse

Customer Bill Havland, left, talks with LFS Marine store manager Jeff Wanlin at the store on Coho Way in Bellingham, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017. LFS is in negotiations to take up to 104,000 square feet in the former Georgia Pacific warehouse.
Customer Bill Havland, left, talks with LFS Marine store manager Jeff Wanlin at the store on Coho Way in Bellingham, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017. LFS is in negotiations to take up to 104,000 square feet in the former Georgia Pacific warehouse. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

After experiencing significant growth in recent years, LFS Marine is planning to take up a major portion of the former Georgia-Pacific tissue warehouse.

The company is finalizing negotiations to lease 104,000 square feet at 1000 F St. from the Port of Bellingham, pending Port Commission approval later this month.

A deal will allow the company to consolidate into one facility to store its wide variety of marine products, said Joe Mazzacano, chief financial officer at LFS. If approved by the Port Commission, the company plans on starting the move-in process in January.

Landing LFS for that space is a big deal for the Port, which has had much of the 250,000-square-foot warehouse empty since the baby furniture manufacturer and distributor Storkcraft left about a year ago. Currently, 10,000 square feet of the building is leased to the Technology Development Center.

Finding tenants for the remaining 136,000 square feet looks promising. There’s been a lot of interest in the building, but mostly from companies looking for around 70,000 square feet, said Shirley McFearin, director of real estate for the Port.

LFS has grown through the acquisition of other companies the past couple of years, including buying the assets of Redden Marine in 2016. Along with its store at 851 Coho Way, LFS has retail outlets in Seattle and several in Alaska, according to its website.

Mazzacano said the leasing of the warehouse space won’t directly mean additional jobs, but the company is continuing to add employees as part of its overall growth. It currently has about 80 employees in Bellingham and around 200 company-wide during the busy season, he added.

While the company has grown in Washington and Alaska fishing communities, other aspects of the business beyond fishing have also done well, he said. That includes selling gloves, marine parts and netting. LFS is also increasing its presence online, Mazzacano said.

LFS has been on Port property in some capacity for nearly 50 years, McFearin said. She noted that a strong marine trades industry on the waterfront needs support businesses like LFS to be successful.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz

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