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December 18, 2014

Boeing scoops up huge Intermec building in Everett for electrical systems division

Puget Sound Business Journal

Steve Wilhelm

Boeing is leasing the single largest available Everett-area structure, the former Intermec Corp. headquarters, to respond to its need for working space as production rises.

The 312,000-square-foot building, in a wooded setting less than a mile north of the Boeing Everett plant, offers a significant amount of single-floor space, suitable for office work or light manufacturing, said Matthew Henn, senior vice president for Kidder Matthews, a commercial real estate broker.

"Boeing's the only type of company that could take a facility like that," he said. "It's a real big facility, with a lot of low-bay production area, and office space."

Boeing spokeswoman Kathy Spicer confirmed the lease, and said Boeing's Electrical Systems Responsibility Center, which Boeing calls ERSC, will be moving into the building. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The news is in parallel with a rush of investment and building around the Boeing Everett plant, which is connected to the construction of the 1.3 million square foot wing plant for the 777X there.

Boeing is expected to move into the Intermec building in February, according to one real estate broker, who asked to remain unnamed.

The move will create more space in Boeing's Interiors Responsibility Center in Everett, which designs and assembles the interiors of Boeing aircraft, said company spokeswoman Robin McBride.

"The move supports airplane rate increases and has been in the works for several years," she said.

The Electrical Systems Responsibility Center works on assembling wiring packages for aircraft, and also on coordinating the flow of wiring packages produced by suppliers.

The ESRC provides wire harnesses, family group assemblies, power panels, and electrical shelf assemblies to all commercial jetliners as well as the P-8 and 767 tanker, McBride said. The center also provides support for new airplane production, warranty repairs, modifications and post-delivery support to meet customer demand for spares and emergent fleet requirements.

In 2006, Boeing reported the ERSC employed 1,350 people. McBride did not confirm current numbers.

While it's not clear how much manufacturing will happen in the new building, the structure itself is ideal for light manufacturing, with 12-foot high ceilings and a flat floor plan, Henn said.

They could "staff a lot of people into that building," he said.

The building features a two-story glassed-in atrium. It also is surrounded by extensive parking, and is just minutes away from Boeing's large recreation center.

In the late '90s Intermec was one of the most powerful manufacturers headquartered in Everett, a maker of bar code technology equipment that employed 800. The publicly traded company was pulling in revenues of $750 million a year, and in a 1997 interview, then-CEO Michael Ohanian expected to hit $1 billion by the "end of the century."

But the company started moving manufacturing overseas to lower costs, and reduced its work force in Everett several times.

In 2012 Honeywell International Inc. bought Intermec for $600 million, which further reduced the need for space there.

Last week only a few Honeywell employees were left, and those will be transitioning to a 70,000-square-foot space at North Point Corporate Center in January, said Brent Jackson, vice president of brokerage for Kidder Matthews.

For the full story, go to Puget Sound Business Journal.

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