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Shared Vision for Northern State Campus: Port and Janicki Bioenergy collaborate

From Left: Skagit County Administrator Tim Holloran, Port of Skagit Commissioner Steven Omdal, Port of Skagit Commission President Dr. Kevin E. Ware, Janicki Bioenergy CEO Peter Janicki, Janicki Bioenergy Secretary Susan Janicki, and Sedro-Woolley Mayor Keith Wagoner.

 

Shared Vision for Northern State Campus: Port and Janicki Bioenergy collaborate to bring jobs to the area

Sedro-Woolley, WA– The Port of Skagit and Janicki Bioenergy continue to make significant progress in the shared vision to develop a technology campus on the Northern State property. The two parties have been discussing ways a public-private partnership will bring living wage jobs and substantial economic growth to the State of Washington.

The Port of Skagit commissioners approved a lease with Janicki Bioenergy during a regular meeting of the Port commission on Tuesday, May 16. Execution of the lease begins a process to determine whether the two parties can accomplish a shared goal for redevelopment of the property. The cost to rehabilitate the structures on the campus is far too great for any one entity. Thus, redevelopment of the site is dependent on the willingness of a public-private partnership.

“The goal is to encourage long-term private sector investment and a clear path to local ownership of the property,” said Port of Skagit Commissioner Bill Shuler. “We acknowledge that a significant amount of energy and investment will be required to realize this goal. Without question, the port commission, staff, and our partners are prepared to go the distance to make this happen.”

Janicki Bioenergy and the Port are planning a redevelopment project on about 37 acres in the southern area of the campus. The remaining 94.5 acres encompasses peripheral open space areas for activities such as parking and staging construction equipment as well as wetlands, trails and other areas that are protected from development.

“Having this lease in place to utilize facilities at the North Cascades Gateway Center means that we are finally beginning to realize our vision of revitalizing this great resource in our community,” said Janicki Bioenergy CEO Peter Janicki. “We could not be more excited about the possibilities at this site to further develop our technologies, provide more jobs, and work with local universities and schools to create diverse learning opportunities.

Getting to this point in the project has been no small endeavor. There have been a large number of folks involved in this effort.  Our cities, the Port of Skagit, Skagit County and the State have all worked in cooperation to bring this about, and we are very grateful for their dedication. The ability to use the Northern State property in this new capacity will benefit so many.”

In January 2016, the state entered into an initial 60-year lease with the Port of Skagit for a portion of the property. The 2015 Washington Legislature granted Enterprise Services authority to pursue leases for the property for up to 60 years. Under the lease, the Port has begun leasing the campus property from the state in planned phases to ensure a smooth transition over time. The initial lease agreement between the Port and Enterprise Services for 131.5 acres makes up more than 50 percent of the 225-acre property.

The Northern State Hospital site, which was designed by the renowned Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been underutilized since the hospital closed in 1973, and the agricultural land associated with it was subsequently turned over to Skagit County for recreational usage. The facility was reopened on a small scale in 1978 as a Multi-Service Center for the U.S. Forest Service and state Department of Social and Health Services. The Port will use federal standards to prioritize the revitalization of selected structures on the property to preserve the original Olmsted design.

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About the Port of Skagit: Guided by the mission “Good Jobs for Our Community,” the Port of Skagit owns and operates three key facilities: the Skagit Regional Airport, the Bayview Business Park and the La Conner Marina. Combined, these three facilities are home to more than 82 businesses that employ nearly 1,263 people. 

About Janicki Bioenergy: In 2011, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation approached Janicki Industries to assist them in improving the sanitation challenges in the developing world, specifically the extraction of fecal waste from pit latrines.  Recognizing this as an opportunity to develop technology that could make a major positive impact on the world, Janicki accepted the challenge.  After spending a significant amount of time studying the problem first-hand, the ‘Janicki Omni Processor’ concept was developed, and, in 2014, Janicki Bioenergy was founded.

If you are a reporter seeking information about the Port of Skagit, please call Andrew Entrikin, community outreach administrator, at 360-757-0011 or email andrew@portofskagit.com