Developed more than 30 years ago, Lakewood is focused on updating its urban areas to reflect the current marketplace. Through multiple projects, Lakewood will soon be a more walkable, business-friendly city. Use this page to learn about upcoming projects, how to start a business in Lakewood, and other business-related subjects.
Economic Development Manager
6000 Main St. SW, 3rd Floor
Lakewood, WA 98499
To email Becky Newton add her email handle before @cityoflakewood.us
Phones & Email:
Monday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Permit and Service Counter
Monday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Lakewood has over 60,000 residents, over 5,000 businesses, and three retail trade areas. These are the Towne Center/Colonial Center, Pacific Highway, and the International District. The city is also home to the excellent Clover Park School District and two colleges: Pierce College and Clover Park Technical College.
Lakewood is the host community to Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM). JBLM is one of the largest military installations in the United States. It also hosts Camp Murray, the headquarters of the Washington Military Defense Army and Air National Guard. America’s Promise Alliance has named Lakewood as one of the nation’s “100 Best Communities for Young People” five years in a row. Economic development and job creation are top priorities for the City of Lakewood.
The City has established a positive business climate to help Lakewood businesses compete in the marketplace. For example, Lakewood has no development impact fees or Business & Occupation (B&O) tax, an approved EB5 Regional Center to promote private investment, and a wrap-around service to help businesses navigate the permitting process, apply for financing, and recruit a trained workforce.
General Facts about Lakewood
- Lakewood Economic Indicators Report: Q4 2022
- Lakewood Business Summary Report
- Pierce County Monthly Employment Report: December, 2021 – by Workforce Central
Lakewood is more than an advantageous place to invest and do business – it’s a great place to live. We have exceptional schools, a vibrant mix of cultures, recreational amenities, natural beauty, and housing choices from affordable to picturesque lakeside living.
“Through the post COVID-19 challenging business environment we must all overcome, it is great to have a business partner like the City of Lakewood Economic Development Manager, Becky Newton, who is always responsive to the needs of a business”.
~ Raul Silva, General Manager of First Transit Tacoma
“I have never seen a city government support business like how the City of Lakewood supported our introduction. City staff have been extraordinarily cooperative and encouraging as we have built our facility and launched our brand.”
~ Rich Burmite, General Manager of 10-20 Services
Please browse the brochure below to learn about Lakewood’s economic development opportunities, including its positive business environment and what our Economic Development Department can do to help your business thrive.
Looking to the Future
In the evolution of every city, there are areas ripe for new development and redevelopment. Lakewood has identified strategic business locations and residential neighborhoods for concentrated economic development activity aimed at attracting private investment.
Targeted locations include, in part, Pacific Highway, the International District, and the Woodbrook neighborhood for retail, commercial and industrial uses and the residential neighborhoods of Springbrook, Kendrick, Lakeview, and Lake City for revitalization and new housing.
Understanding that public infrastructure is a critical engine of economic development, the City has made significant public improvements to attract private investment. Recent improvements include a new fire station, street improvements (curb and gutter, bike lanes, landscaping, lighting, and storm drainage), and partnering with Sound Transit on the Lakewood Transit Station, a $33 million multi-modal transit center with regional commuter rail/express bus service, and a 600-plus stall commuter parking structure.
Economic Points of Interest
Conveniently located halfway between Seattle and Olympia, Lakewood is the host community to Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Camp Murray. We are home to several beautiful lakes and wonderful historic treasures, such as Fort Steilacoom Park, Lakewold Gardens, and 500-year-old Thornewood Castle. Lakewood is an ideal place to shop or stay while visiting local destinations like Mount Rainier or Chambers Bay.
Lakewood is minutes away from Puget Sound and the Port of Tacoma and a short drive to Sea-Tac International Airport. With great educational opportunities, a strong business district, and numerous recreational opportunities, Lakewood is a great place to locate!
The Port of Tacoma
The Port of Tacoma is 13 miles north of Lakewood on I-5.
A 2019 study highlights the economic impact the Port of Tacoma had on real estate and marine cargo operations in 2017. According to the study, the Port of Tacoma:
- Supported more than 42,100 jobs
- Generated nearly $3 billion in labor income
- Produced more than $100 million annually in state and local taxes to support education, police, fire services, and road improvements
Lakewood Towne Center
The Lakewood Towne Center is located within the City’s Downtown Subarea Plan. Close to I-5 and SR 512, and Lakewood Station, serving the Sounder and Amtrak trains.
Downtown will become a mixed-use, high amenity neighborhood. Over 2,250 attached housing units are planned with most in a mixed-use design. A planned action ordinance streamlines environmental review over 20 years, allowing development that fits the vision to move forward faster and at less cost.
Lakewood Industrial Park
Lakewood Industrial Park features 26 buildings totaling over 2 million square feet of distribution, warehouse and manufacturing facilities. The Park also offers:
- Excellent location adjacent to I-5 and SR-512
- Spacious truck maneuverability within the Park
- Flexible warehouse space from 5,000 to 150,000 SF
- Foreign Trade Zone #86 designation
Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) is located adjacent to the city of Lakewood. A recent University of Washington – Tacoma Milgard School of Business Center for Business Analytics study found that JBLM contributes more than $14 billion to the region’s economy. In addition, JBLM drives job creation and statewide tax revenue.
Watch this video from Pierce County TV on JBLM’s impact on the region. For questions about the study, contact South Sound Military and Communities Partnership (SSMCP) Program Director Bill Adamson at [email protected] or 253-983-7772.
Businesses in Lakewood profit from the absence of a local Business and Occupation (B&O) tax and traffic impact fees, which are imposed by many Washington state cities. Businesses pay state minimum wage rates only (except for a traffic mitigation fee that may be assessed in Downtown for more intensive uses).
- Areas that qualify for Foreign Trade Zone #86 administered by the Port of Tacoma.
- Multi-Family Tax Exemption (MFTE) to encourage high-density urban residential development in selected areas within the City. See the Residential Target Area Map here.
- Affordable Housing Development Incentives.
- Hybrid Form-Based Code Regulations and SEPA Planned Action Ordinances for the Downtown Subarea and the Station District Subarea.
- HUB Zone, EB5 foreign direct investment & New Market Tax Credit eligible areas.
- Three approved Opportunity Zones.
- Site selection and “wrap-around” business services.
- Workforce customized training.
- FREE construction watch program on new commercial developments for added security through our police department.
- Lakewood has invested over $100 million in capital improvements over the past 20 years. The primary focus has been on the City’s major corridors to help improve safety, traffic flow, aesthetics, and multi-modal access. As of 2021, $150 million in additional infrastructure is planned, including curbs, sidewalks, and bike lanes to enhance connectivity.
International Advantages and Regional Partners
There are many organizations that promote and support international trade and improved international relations. Extensive listings may be found at the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle.
- Strategic location midway between Asia and Europe.
- More than $40 billion worth of goods travel through the Port of Tacoma and Port of Seattle every year. Closer to Asia than any other North American seaports, the ports of the Pacific Northwest are premier gateways for products to and from North America.
- Puget Sound provides all-weather ports for ocean-going ships in the cities of Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia.
- Businesses located in the Foreign Trade Zone in Lakewood that export and/or import benefit from reduced or eliminated customs duties.
Local, state, and federal governments all need services from private companies. Washington State Procurement and Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) offers no-cost advice to businesses seeking to sell to government agencies. You may contact them for a 1-hour meeting with a counselor to get started. This helps to ensure that you are registering in all the right places and not wasting valuable time. No one should pay to sell to a government entity.
All businesses must sign up at Sam.gov to perform government contracting
Available Commercial Properties
Invest Pierce County is an extensive online search tool for the Commercial Broker Association (CBA) listings. This website gives business owners, brokers, site selectors, and communities access to a comprehensive search tool for free. Find available commercial, industrial sites, and buildings in Pierce County, along with demographics and analytics.
Custom Available Properties Report
Interested in developing in Lakewood, but having trouble finding a place? Please let us know what type of property you are looking for and we can assist you in finding available properties and contact information for properties which are available for lease or purchase.