December 15, 2005

Resurrecting the Technology Corridor

  • Marketing plan from the 1980s is being used for Seaway Center and other developments north of Seattle.
    Special to the Journal

    Photo by Terry Stephens
    New buildings, such as this one at Seaway Center in Everett, are part of the growth in the Technology Corridor in Snohomish County.

    When real estate agents and land developers forged an unusual alliance in the 1980s, Mike Deller was there to take on the role of executive director of the new Technology Corridor, a marketing concept that helped to create Canyon Park's biotech, telecommunications and software hub.

    From there, the Technology Corridor spread south into King County, creating a series of master-planned business parks, and grew northward into Lynnwood and southwest Everett. The northern end of the corridor, at Seaway Center, languished years behind the rest of the development because that was too far north to attract high-tech businesses.

    That's all changed. Transportation gridlock — along with higher prices for residential and commercial properties in King County — have brought new interest in Seaway Center and points farther north.

    When the Snohomish County Economic Development Council recently announced it was re-launching the marketing concept of the Technology Corridor to call attention to those developments, it wasn't surprising to find Mike Deller there, too.

    Deller, who left as president of the Technology Corridor when it was disbanded in the early 1990s, has since been manager of the Port of Everett, president of EverTrust Bank and now the first president of the new Bank of Everett, still in formation.

    At a recent meeting in the soon-to-open Future of Flight Center and Boeing Tour facility at Paine Field, Deller told more than 90 commercial brokers and developers who came for a tour of the properties that economic forces drawing businesses north from King County were stimulating demand for commercial and industrial properties.

    Seaway Center, for instance, is close to the Boeing plant where the new 787 airliner will be made beginning next year, along with the earlier 747, 767 and 777 models. The development is filling up with office buildings, warehouses and high-tech firms.

    Map courtesy Snohomish County Economic Development Council
    The new Technology Corridor extends into north Everett.

    Meanwhile, Berlex Corp. is building the state's first biotech production plant in Lynnwood.

    Deller's list of major developments includes: a $400 million waterfront venture dubbed Port Gardner Wharf by the Port of Everett; a business park on the river at the north edge of Everett, also proposed by the port; and a gateway community in Everett's new Riverside Park on the Snohomish River, proposed by the city.

    In Mukilteo, Combimatrix, Fluke Manufacturing and Immunex headline a growing list of high-tech firms.

    All of those areas, plus the future city center development in Lynnwood, have the potential to attract technology firms and high-tech employment, said Deborah Knudson, president of the Snohomish County EDC, which occupies space in one of Quadrant's I-5 Corporate Park buildings in the Technology Corridor.

    "Rather than start something new, we thought it would be good to bring back the Technology Corridor marketing plan and expand it as far as north Everett," said Knudson. "Reid Middleton has been donating a lot of time to help us sort out corridor maps prepared by the PUD and other utility companies to create an overview for developers of what the corridor has to offer in master-planned sites, infrastructure and a concentration of existing high-tech firms."

    Later, the EDC plans to use its Technology Corridor marketing experience to promote business and technology parks in north and east Snohomish County, said Debbie Emge, the EDC's vice president for business development.


    Terry Stephens is a freelance writer based in Arlington. He can be reached by e-mail at

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