Holmes Electric is moving to Kent



by 405, firm

will relocate to Journal site

Work has begun on a multi-phase project on the former King County Journal campus in Kent that will include the relocation of Renton’s Holmes Electric offices.

A national fitness center, L.A. Fitness, will occupy the Journal’s one-time printing plant that is highly visible from State Route 167.

Last week, a crane demolished the north end of the single-story Journal facility, which included a large open warehouse space. Holmes Electric will move its operations to the remainder of the Journal’s former offices.

The moves will follow extensive renovations to both facilities.

The 5.3-acre property and the two buildings were purchased Aug. 13 by Seattle developer Mike McKernan, along with fellow developer Larry Benaroya.

Mike Richards, chief executive officer of Holmes Electric, said his company will move its entire administrative staff to the new locale by fall.

“We couldn’t find anything in Renton that we could afford that was useable,” Richards said, noting the Kent site also was attractive because “the access is good,” and because the majority of company employees live in South King County.

The former King County Journal facility is located less than a quarter-mile from a major SR 167 access point, and within a couple of miles of Interstate 5.

Holmes Electric was looking for a new location because its current facility at 1422 Raymond is on property that will be used by the state Department of Transportation for improvements to Interstate 405.

“We’re on the south side of 405, and all of this property has been sold to DOT for improvements to 405,” Richards said.

Holmes Electric, which has been in Renton since its founding in 1945, will be moving approximately 50 employees, Richards said. The new facility, he said, will be in 18,000 square feet of what remains of the Journal’s offices, which will be completely renovated.

“We are largely gutting it,” Richards said of the building. “It’s office space only and represents considerably more than we have now.”

Representatives for L.A. Fitness could not be reached comment on plans for the former Journal press building. However, McKernan said the building, once constructed to house the Journal’s massive newspaper press, will see extensive renovations as well.

Part of last week’s demolition of the editorial building – which sits directly behind the press plant – was to provide space for the fitness center’s renovations, McKernan said.

McKernan and Benaroya, who have worked in tandem on other developments in the Puget Sound area, purchased the former King County Journal campus in August from Sound Publishing, following the Journal’s closure in January 2007.

They bought the property and buildings for $9.35 million, taking occupancy of the property in October.

Sound Publishing, in turn, moved its group of community newspapers – including the Renton Reporter – out of the Journal’s office building to their respective communities last summer and fall.

Sound Publishing also moved the Journal’s press from the Kent plant to a more centralized location at Paine Field in Everett last summer.

In an interview shortly after the purchase, Benaroya noted the property was a good investment.

“It was an available property at a location we thought had value for a subsequent user,” he told the Kent Reporter in August. “This was a deal that Mike (McKernan) did most of the analysis on. We valued his opinion and agreed with his assessment. It turned out that was true for us and our proposed user on the site.”