FedEx Signs Lease to Use, Build out Space in Pasco, Wash.

Jun. 9--FedEx Ground has signed a lease for about a third of Fluor's 103,000-square-foot "shell building" in Pasco that has been empty since its construction about six years ago.

The company's ground transport division, which ships small packages via trucks, is expected to begin operations in its new digs by September.

Allison Sobczak, a FedEx Ground spokeswoman, said the company currently operates at a site on Pasco's Oregon Avenue that is about one-tenth the size of the new space. She said the company's 35 employees were thrilled to be moving into a bigger space before the peak holiday shipping months from October through December.

Terms of the eight-year lease were not released.

Fluor Government Group will oversee George Grant Construction's work to prepare the 30,000-square-foot leased space for FedEx Ground.

Fluor built the facility to promote economic development in the Tri-Cities. TRIDEC has assisted in marketing the building.

According to a TRIDEC news release, Fluor estimates more than 140 prospective buyers or tenants have toured the building since it was built. It was speculated at the time that it would take about three years to find a buyer for the $4.3 million building.

Some of the clients who came to look at the building ended up locating elsewhere in the Tri-Cities.

"The building has helped the local economy by attracting businesses to the Tri-Cities for a first look," said Norm Powell, general manager of Fluor Government Group's Richland office. "They may have not settled in the shell building, but they came here to see it and found that they liked the Tri-Cities."

That included Ferguson Enterprises, a Virginia-based plumbing supplier, that ended up moving to Richland because it needed more space than the shell building could offer.

The building, on a 16-acre site in the Pasco Processing Center, is close to the highways, the Tri-Cities Airport and rail lines.

It includes 100,000 square feet of open space with FDA food-grade walls and ceilings. The floor is unfinished, meaning prospective occupants can design it with drains, outlets and other features exactly where they need them. There also is about 3,700 square feet of unfinished office space.

Fluor is continuing to offer the building for sale, which would include the FedEx lease, or take on additional tenants for the remaining 70,000 square feet in the main building or the office space. The asking price for the building was not disclosed.

<<Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, WA) (KRT) -- 06/12/06>>