City Spotlight – Federal Way

Prosperity in Western King County

Greater Seattle City Spotlight - Federal Way, Washingotn


Federal Way has a little bit of everything that makes southern King County excellent. A thriving commercial district, accesible location for businesses, and a quirky history.

Located on the western border of Auburn. The events around the discovery of the are both odd and amusing. Captain George Vancouver landed his exploration party in what was originally thought of as Federal Way.

There was one slight problem with that;

Captain Vancouver never actually landed in what is now Federal Way. Based on his observations of being able to see Mt. Rainier from where he came ashore, he just couldn't have landed on any beach within the city limits.  It is impossible, the mountain was not visible from any of the waterfront in that era. 

He more than likely was on Vashon Island or potentially Mercer Island if his navigator got them particularly lost. 

However, that did not stop future parties of explorers and settlers from following what they thought was the same route. Ultimately, coming ashore in what we consider Federal Way today. Makes you grateful for your phone's GPS right? 

From 1800 onward, the area has consistently populated.  Economic prosperity also increased, particularly in the early 1900's, when the Puget Sound Electric Railway began operation.   Simultaneously the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company purchased over 800,000 acres of land in Washington.

Since then, Federal Way has continued to flourish while maintaining the balance of commercial and residential viability that continues to draw new businesses and families to the area.

Access to Everything, Without Breaking Your Wallet.

Featuring housing that ranges from waterfront villas to affordable commuter apartments, people of all backgrounds call Federal Way home.

The combination of easy access to Seattle, Tacoma, Sea-Tac International Airport, and various local ports makes Federal Way an ideal destination for businesses and residents alike.

Federal Way has also been chosen to receive a Lightrail station as part of Sound Transits SB2 project. This will give commuters yet another way to access Seattle & Tacoma.


Attractive Business Climate

A business friendly atmosphere is incredibly important to continue the economic appeal and continue luring large companies there.

Federal Way has several of these corporations already, such as:

  • Xerox
  • World Vision
  • ACS

Additionally, with a population of nearly 100,000 the Federal Way School District employs over 2,000 local residents.  There is substantially job opportunity here for future residents.

Those organizations combined employ upwards of 5,000 local residents bringing not only economic stability to Federal Way but an influx of potential consumers for the businesses that support them and their employees.

Notable Locations

Federal Way is home to a unique set of attractions that appeal to tourists, families, and businesses:

Wild Waves is a well known regional Water Park that also plays host to some of the only rollercoasters in the area to operate outside of state fairs. Including, the Timberhawk Ride of Prey wooden coaster which is a loud, terrifying, and wholly worth experiencing ride. Consider that a personal recommendation. 

Fright Fest and Holiday With Lights also take place at Wild Waves during non-open seasons. 

The Pacific Bonsai Museum is a perfect destination to connect with the living art that is Bonsai. Opening in 1989 courtesy of the Weyerhaeuser company to symbolize their dedication to their community and forest resource sustainability, the Museum was gifted to a non-profit named after George Weyerhaeuser himself. 

The museum has over 150 different Bonsai trees from multiple continents. If you want to connect with nature and see the cultural boundaries art can bridge, The Pacific Bonsai Museum is an ideal destination.  

Located on the western tip of Federal Way straddling the line between King & Pierce Counties lies Dash Point State Park. 

With amenities such as: 

  • Miles of biking trails
  • Extensive walking paths
  • Ideal skim-boarding water levels during low tide
  • Varied bird populations
  • 398 acres of campgrounds

The park has something for everyone! 

Every major city needs a mall right? Federal Way is no exception with, The Commons at Federal Way. 

The astounding variety of businesses located in the mall is a major perk to those who live nearby or commuters looking to make one stop for everything. 

Highlight Businesses: 

  • Target
  • Gamestop 
  • Kohls
  • Sears
  • Macy's
  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Century Theaters

You can get all your grocery shopping done, buy some gifts, get a haircut, and catch a movie without leaving the building. There's no other mall in the area that can claim that convenience. 

City Spotlight – Auburn

City Spotlight – Auburn

Auburn Features Image

Centralized Location, Thriving Industry, and Heritage

Bordering Kent to the South, Auburn has many of the same qualities that make us love Kent!

While having a few key differences that make it stand out from its neighbors.

All while strengthening the economy of South King County as a whole.

Auburn Washington Downtown Association

Centralized Location

Similar to Kent, Auburn's centralized location gives businesses a strategic advantage. Being 30 minutes from Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, and most of Pierce County allows businesses to attract clients from all over the area. 

Auburn also offers a much more reasonable commute for employees than downtown Seattle or Tacoma with multiple highways in and around the city. 

Interstate 5, Highway 167, and Highway 18 are all easily accessible. No matter if you want more traffic for a business, easy routes for your product to be transported, or simply an easier commute Auburn has an ideal location! 

Growing Business Environment

Commercial attractions featuring Auto-Row and the Seattle Outlet Collection (Formerly The Supermall) make Auburn a consumer destination.

Auto-Row is home to over two dozen car dealers of all makes, models, and styles. The Seattle Outlet Collection has stores selling all sorts of retail goods.

With multiple railroads and highway proximity Auburn is home to a bustling and rapidly growing industrial sector. Auburn is also home to an expanding aerospace industry. Multiple startups are located within a few miles of Boeing's fabrication plant. 

Job growth is set to beat the estimated average across the United States over the next decade. 

Residential Diversity


Auburn is home to a large amount of Slavic descendants. Combined with nearly 30% of residents speaking Spanish, make the community quite diverse.

The Muckleshoot Native American Tribe also calls the area home. An economic force in their own right, with one of the largest Casinos in the Pacific Northwest. 

Residents of all nationalities and variety of local industries mean a city of opportunity for people of all backgrounds. 

Expected Auburn Population Mid 2018:


Notable Locations

Boeing Auburn Fabrication Plant - With their close ties to the region, it should be no surprise that Boeing is the largest employer in the city. 

White River Amphitheater - Many major concert series and performers make a stop at White River which is one of the largest outdoor venues in Washington. 

Green River Community College - One of the largest schools in Washington state. Offers a variety of degree programs across many industries including some bachelors degree programs. 

Green River Community College - Salish Hall - Auburn Washington
Green River Community College

City Spotlight – Maple Valley

Maple Valley

City Spotlight

Small Child Holding Leaf

Head east on 272nd from Covington for a few minutes and you'll crest a hill to find yourself in the quiet suburban town of Maple Valley.

Home of rapid economic growth, award-winning schools, and suburban living at its finest.

Maple Valley is the perfect way to experience suburban life without compromising on essential amenities.

Train - Maple Valley
Lumber Train - Trans Magizine
Nighttime Traffic

A Town Built Around Transportation

In the late 1870's "Vine Maple Valley", now known as Maple Valley was born. Named via drawing names from a hat, it was originally both a coal and lumber town. Though, due to complaints from the local post office, the Vine portion was dropped as it made record keeping difficult.

With a railroad running through the city, timber and coal workers relocated to the area and continued to do so consistently through the 1940's.

Surprisingly as Seattle moved away from coal and timber production, Maple Valley and surrounding communities continued to grow. Local coal mines were in operation as recently as 1947 when the city began to transition to a new phase of growth.

Once the mines ceased operation the town transitioned in a resort area. Trade shops, hotels, and various markets lined the dense downtown area.

In contrast to many cities around it, Maple Valley grew with increasing density instead of the typical urban sprawl.

During the mid 60's, construction began on Highway 18 which required Maple Valley to be reconfigured. Although an adjustment, the highway access proved to be a great success with an easy connection to Snoqualmie Pass, Auburn, and Interstate 5.

For over 120 years, Maple Valley has been defined by transportation infrastructure. Initially, by the railroad and then later by highways, the draw to Maple Valley remains consistent. Families appreciate the quiet suburban living, quality schools, and ideal commuter location.

Away From it all. Without Being Away From it all.

Family on Playground

Maple Valley provides an ideal location for residents who clamor for suburban living while retaining the conveniences of city living. With the recent construction of a Fred Meyer as well as multiple new shopping centers, residents can find all of the essentials for life without leaving town.

The construction of Highway 18 is the major pipeline into this area.  When automobiles became a staple of the American family in the 60’s, these type of bedroom communities flourished. Highway 18 provides access to downtown Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, or Snoqualmie Pass in less than an hour.

Unprecedented Growth

Numbers do not lie. 

Maple Valley's population in 1990:

Maple Valley's population in 2000:

In a single decade, there was a population increase of 1,073.3%. The state increase was just over 13% for the decade. The following decade saw another increase of over 55%. 

This population explosion is attracting all types of businesses.  Construction, Retail, Real Estate, Schools, and more have seen exponential growth in the last two decades.

Combined with a household income in the top fifth in the country, the city is an attractive home for any business that has their audience in suburban households. Currently, Maple Valley looks to be continuing their upward trend with home values up 20% year-over-year.

How to Get the Best Bang for Your Buck When Renting Commercial Real Estate

How to Get the Best Bang for Your Buck When Renting Commercial Real Estate

Winter is Here.


When it comes to renting Commercial Real Estate, it’s safe to say we know a thing or two.

2018 is nearly upon us, that means we are in the middle of prime moving season. For commercial and residential alike.

Moving during winter is advantageous from a financial and customer service viewpoint. On top of getting more personal attention from leasing agents, you can also find yourself in the position to get some good deals.

That is, as long as you are ready to pull the trigger.

How to save a few bucks when renting

As with most negotiations, if you play your cards right you can save a substantial amount of money renting real estate.

Here are some professional tips:

  • Know your number – Arrive to a showing appointment knowing how much you can spend on a space. Never start negotiations without a number in your mind.
  • Know your agent/landlord – You want to work with someone who has been a part of the team for a long time. Those are the ones that can give you a deal since they know their way around the business. If you get the vibe that you need someone more experienced, there is no shame in asking for exactly that.
  • Referrals – Tell them how you found them. Most companies will have some sort of kickback to you and whomever got you interested in the space.
  • A penny saved is a penny earned – Do not underestimate small savings. Fifty bucks here, seventy-five there, it all adds up. For example:
    • Application Fee: $50 If you seem like a serious client, most companies will consider waiving this.
    • Free Week: Offer to move in around the 20th. You may find them willing to allow you to start moving in but start paying in the new month. Potential to be moved in and operational before you are paying rent. This can be hundreds if not thousands of dollars saved.
    • Ask if there are any “B-Level” units: Maybe there are more puddles in that part of the parking lot, the view is of a railroad or neighboring building, the electrical room is nearby, etc. If you are willing to compromise on small things, they may have a space that is otherwise identical for significantly cheaper. This could be result in thousands of dollars saved a year.
  • Know the company – Coming across as knowledgeable about the company you are negotiating with can go a long ways. It shows you are dedicated to getting a space if you put the time in researching.
  • Make. An. Appointment. – This is less a stickler for us than other companies. Regardless, to ensure you get the best experience from the most capable leasing agent, make an appointment. Also, it is the polite thing to do.

Finally, if the price is right and the unit works for your business needs. Be ready to negotiate. Remember, while a company may own the space, you are negotiating with a person. They likely have a number too and 80% of something is better than 100% of nothing when a unit is vacant for another month.

Plemmons Pro Tip: That works at hotels too. Past the usual check in times you can usually find a manager that will rent vacant rooms for a discounted rate rather than letting them by empty for the night.

Don’t say Plemmons Industries never did nothing for ya!

Why’s the Water Up to my Knees? A Flood Guide.

Why’s the Water Up to my Knees? A Flood Guide.

If you live in western Washington, you likely live near a river. Enjoy the view and don’t worry, you’ll be prepared for mother nature.

Thanks to our friends at King County for these important flood tips:

Know if you’re in a flood plane.

If you own a home, this is something that should be disclosed when you purchased. If you’re unsure, here’s King County’s mapping tool.

Assuming your home is in a flood plane, your mortgage likely stipulated you having flood insurance but, it never hurts to call your homeowner insurance agent and confirm it. Especially going into what’s shaping up to be a rather wet winter.

Have a plan.

The time to establish what your family should do in the event of a flood is now, when there’s not actually a flood.

Some tips:

  • Pull all valuables off the floor and stash them in the highest and most well ventilated location you have.
    • Make sure to have images and receipts for these items for insurance purposes.
  • Know how to evacuate any pets/family that cannot move themselves.
    • Animals in particular can be swept away in a current, if possible do not have them in water above their mid-section.
  • Know multiple routes out of your neighborhood in case one is flooded/disabled.
    • Typically the route leading away from the river along the highest road possible is your best bet.
  • Have a dedicated meeting location in case family is not all at home. Cell Phone towers can be damaged during extreme flooding so discuss this in advance.
    • Closer to your home but away from the flood plane the better. In case someone ends up evacuating on foot.
  • Have an emergency kit. All the usual suspects: water, bandages, flashlights, etc. Here’s some more suggestions

The news just said my house will likely flood tonight. Now what?

Well, at least you’ve got some prep time right? Note, these are mostly money saving tips in the event of a severe flood, do not waste time doing them in an actual emergency.

  • Turn off your gas valve.
    • Water+Gas Line = No fun.
  • Turn off circuit breaker and main electrical line.
    • Helps prevent burnouts and makes home safer to re-enter post flood.

Oh, there’s water in my house.

Don’t panic. Like most natural disasters, panicking does not help. Stick to your evacuation plan and keep these tips in mind:

  • Don’t walk, run, wade, meander, bike, or drive through flooded areas. We like King County’s saying for this:
    • Turn around. Don’t drown.
  • If your vehicle stalls in water, abandon it. You can swim. Your car? Not as much.
    • We’ve yet to see a life jacket for an F-250 or Prius.
  • If water is too deep for you to safely evacuate your home/area get to as high a point as possible with an escape route or your roof. Make sure to take as much warm clothing and supplies as you can carry up with you.

We survived a flood!

Perfect! Now here’s how to not end up a post-flood-freak-accident statistic:

  • Examine your home for structural damage before going inside.
    • If your roof is drooping in, we’d suggest not going inside. Same goes for odd crackling electrical noises outside.
  • Hire professionals to examine your home for damage.
    • It’s worth your deductible to have a professional check your gas, electrical, water, etc. Before attempting to use it.
  • Document damaged property and all water lines.
    • You’ll want pictures and documentation of this for insurance claims
  • Drain basement if needed.
    • Only 1/3 of the water per day. Draining the entire thing at once can cause severe structural damage or collapse.

Flooding is a part of life in the PNW. Preparedness = Safety, this is what insurance is for.