Lakewood Overview

The economic vitality of Lakewood is critical to its citizens, businesses and the City’s future. Economic development fosters economic vitality by attracting new investment, expanding and growing a diverse business base, redevelopment of key parcels, creating new jobs and growing the economy of the community. This work is in concert with the priority areas of focus and business sectors that are consistent with the City Council Priorities as well as Comprehensive Plan and Zoning. The Strategy outlines the City Council priorities as well as strategic focus areas and, implementation steps to achieve a sustainable model for economic development and vitality. The strategy reflects an integrated approach with other City departments as well as community organizations, business, and development communities, investors, and other partner organizations around projects of mutual interest and benefit.

The Central Business District, the Pacific Highway Corridor, Woodbrook and Tillicum are each geographic areas in the City. Each area is designed to accommodate different types of businesses or sectors. Tools and strategies are required to foster growth and redevelopment. We continue to build on development to enhance each areas sense of place and connection to the community.

Economic development is a priority in Lakewood, and the city has invested in supportive infrastructure. Community improvements continue to be made to enhance livability in Lakewood and create a desirable environment for citizens and visitors as well as to retain and grow existing businesses and attract new investment and business to the City.
A significant competitive advantage is Lakewood’s location adjacent to I-5 and SR 512 which increases its access to populations beyond its borders. I-5 is the north-south corridor from Canada to California. Lakewood is an easy driving distance between two large metropolitan areas, Seattle and Portland. We sit just 40 miles south of I-90, the northern most coast-to-coast highway in the United States. There is convenient access to three ports – Port of Seattle, Port of Tacoma and Port of Olympia.

Two military bases are Lakewood’s eastern and southern borders, Camp Murray and Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM). JBLM is one of the top five bases in the United States. Proximity to military bases provides access to over 55,000 soldiers and their families. Current and potential military contracting opportunities attract businesses that work on JBLM or Camp Murray and/or have locations in the vicinity. They lodge in City hotels, live in our community, and buy goods and services from local companies. There remains a significant need for off base services and access to restaurants, shopping, and various services. Because Lakewood is rather landlocked by the military bases and is largely built out, it is unlikely to experience much expansion to the east of I-5; therefore, revitalization will occur as redevelopment of existing lands. Lakewood’s economic focus rests with establishing strong redevelopment strategies.

Lakewood has numerous lakes, parks and golf courses for citizens and visitors to enjoy. The efforts of City civic and community leaders have been honored by America’s Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest partnership organization dedicated to youth and children, as a six time recipient of their “100 Best Communities for Young People.” Amenities and educational opportunities are significant considerations for many companies when considering a new location. Culture, innovation, creativity and quality of life for employers will become increasingly important for the next generations of workers and leaders.

Sound Transit’s commuter rail is close to the I-5/SR512 intersection on Pacific Highway and provides the ability to live in Lakewood and commute to locations north of Lakewood, such as the SeaTac International Airport, Seattle and Everett.

Single family and multifamily residential housing demand will increase naturally to support changes in population and to support active duty military and veterans who wish to remain in the Puget Sound area.

Lakewood’s rich and diverse International District offers a wide variety of cultural retail, markets and restaurant options. Opportunity for redevelopment exists along South Tacoma Way from the 512 interchange north to 80th Street. This area brings in the single largest amount of retail sales to the City.

To establish a more stable and diverse economic base, Lakewood must focus on coordinating and building partnerships, taking advantage of capital facilities funding programs that support redevelopment, developing market strategies for specific industries, and redeveloping vacant and underutilized commercial/industrial properties. As a part of the strategy, Lakewood will need to focus on regional growth markets and businesses to support those markets.

By its nature, economic revitalization is a long-term, incremental effort. Together with complementary land-use and transportation goals and policies, an expanding economic development program will advance the community’s economic growth.

Given the areas of focus and strategic location of Lakewood, it is expected that retail trade will continue to expand. At the same time our potential for growth in manufacturing, transportation/warehousing and professional, scientific and technical services will align with the region to support growth in the areas of aerospace, life sciences and biotech particularly in support of military services.

Why locate in Lakewood? Businesses in Lakewood profit from the absence of a local Business and Occupation (B&O) tax, which is imposed by many Washington cities. The City of Lakewood did a comprehensive comparison between our Puget Sound cities and found that our fees are below average. In addition, our team approach to permitting and close relationship with all services on every project ensure the fastest and most efficient permitting possible. This makes for very happy clients and a business friendly community.

We offer hands on comprehensive wrap-around services to all our businesses. We also have access to a multitude of finance programs not found in many other cities. Contact Becky Newton for additional information at (253) 983-7738.