aerial shot of Lakewood with Mount Rainier in the background

Economic Development

Lakewood has great infrastructure, highway access, simple permitting, available industrial properties, and development incentives. Lakewood is also a wholesome place to live with great schools and vibrant culture. Lakewood is a great place for big businesses, small businesses, and workers.

Becky Newton
Economic Development Manager
6000 Main St. SW, 3rd Floor
Lakewood, WA 98499
(253) 983-7738

Email: BNewton
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.

Announcements
Current Projects
Editorial Column
Common Questions
Economic Reports
Important Links

Announcements

February 22nd, 2024
The February, 2024: Housing and Homelessness edition of the Lakewood Economic Development editorial column is now available.

The February, 2024 edition of the Lakewood Economic Development editorial column is now available and can be found using the link below:

February 22nd, 2024
The Q4 2023 Lakewood Permit Report is now available

The Lakewood Permit Report is now updated for Q4 2023. The permit report includes all major permit activity, new constructions, and proposed projects for Q4 2023.

November 7th, 2023
The November, 2023 Lakewood Economic Development Brochure is now available

The Economic Development Brochure is a snapshot of business in Lakewood. The brochure includes a jobs report, economic demographics, and recent business activity.

September 11, 2023
The Lakewood Economic Development Update for 2023 is now available.

Lakewood economic staff presented a department-wide update to council in September. The Economic Development Update for 2023 is now available and can be found using the link below:

September 5, 2023
The 2023 Lakewood Fact Sheet is now available

The Community & Economic Development (CED) Department creates a yearly fact sheet for people to use as a quick reference guide to Lakewood. The fact sheet includes general demographic, economic, and community resource data.

September 5, 2023
The Q2 2023 Lakewood Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) Quarterly Update is now available

The Q2 2023 BR&E Quarterly Update is now available. The BR&E report includes feedback from businesses in Lakewood.

May 31, 2023
The Q1 2023 Economic Indicators Report is now available

The Economic Indicators report is a general view of the economic conditions in Lakewood. The report includes general business, employment, tax, housing, and community data.

May 2, 2023
The 2022 Annual Lakewood Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) Report is now available

The Annual BR&E report for 2022 is now available. The annual BR&E report includes feedback from over 100 businesses who participated in the 2022 program.

February 10, 2023
The 2022 Annual Lakewood Permit Report is now available

The Annual Lakewood Permit Report is now updated for 2022. The annual permit report includes all major permit activity, new constructions, and proposed projects for 2022.

October 13, 2022
The Community and Economic Development Report presentation to the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce is now available

On October 13th 2022, Lakewood Economic Development Manager, Becky Newton, shared Lakewood’s 2021-2022 Community and Economic Development Report with the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce. The presentation materials have been added to the Economic Reports section of this page.

August 22, 2022
The 2021-2022 Community and Economic Development (CED) Department Report is now available

The Community & Economic Development (CED) Department report examines our work in relation to the City Council’s adopted goals, objectives, and strategies over a 2 ½ year period from 2020 through July 2022.

June 13, 2022
The 2022 Economic Development Strategy Plan Draft is now available

The Economic Development Strategy Plan Draft is designed to promote and support a robust local economy. City Council goals for 2021-2024 include an adaptive and growing economy, a diversified and resilient economy, and an economy that supports local businesses and residents.


Current Projects

Business Retention & Expansion

Our Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) program is designed to:

  1. Retain or keep existing businesses in the community; and
  2. Provide assistance for existing businesses to expand.

BRE is applicable to all businesses in the community, from small mom-and-pop shops to large national employers and all industries, particularly trade-based or primary companies that bring in new dollars to the city, county, and state.

BRE and business attraction go hand in hand when developing a community. The City of Lakewood has three retail trade areas:

  • Lakewood Towne Center
  • International District
  • Pacific Highway Transit-Oriented Commercial area on Pacific Highway adjacent to I-5.

Lakewood has a large industrial park and additional industrial lands available for development. Opportunities are abundant and many properties are ripe for redevelopment.

Lakewood has a wide range of affordable to high-end residential offerings. The City is focused on increasing the variety of living spaces such as live-work units, mixed residential, garden style living communities, and middle market homes.

View the Economic Vitality Strategy for information on our target areas for development.

Click here to view Business Retention & Expansion reports


Editorial Column

February 2024: Housing and Homelessness

Housing and homelessness are among the toughest issues Lakewood faces today. Lakewood is geographically limited by water, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and its borders with other cities. Even though Lakewood is running out of space, the City is in dire need of more housing. Many cities across the Puget Sound and across the country find themselves in similar predicaments. While each city exists within its own context and limitations, the need for more housing is a constant issue across all jurisdictions.

October 2023: Community Partnerships

The City of Lakewood partners with many government units, tribal organizations, non-profit organizations, businesses, religious organizations, neighborhood organizations, and other groups. Working in partnership with organizations informs the City’s decision-making process to keep Lakewood on track to being a city that works for its citizens.

September 2023: Comprehensive Plan Updates

The comprehensive plan is a high-level overview of the general planning direction of a government body. Comprehensive plans communicate the goals, objectives, policies, actions, and standards that guide the day-to-day operations of City staff. The comprehensive plan for a city also includes a summary of Land Use, Zoning, Capital Facilities, Transportation Networks, Utilities, Economic Development strategies, Climate Change policies and more.

Cities are constantly looking toward the future to make decisions that will suit future development. Comprehensive plans are updated every ten years. Lakewood will update its comprehensive plan in 2024.

June 2023: Climate Change, Energy, and Transportation

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face as a community today. The effects of climate change are not always obvious to us, as changes often occur over many years. In order to minimize the effects of climate change on our daily lives we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the adverse effects of climate change, and ensure that we share the burdens, costs, and benefits equitably with a concentration on environmental justice.

The lakes, trees and green spaces in Lakewood are great natural resources. In order to continue to enjoy the beauty of Lakewood now and into the future, we must take care to protect and maintain these resources. Mitigating the effects of climate change come in many shapes and sizes. The City focuses on three main areas: trees & green spaces, renewable energy, and transportation.

April 2023: Trees and Tree Code

Trees are one of Lakewood’s most valuable resources. As the city strives to become more resilient and sustainable, the conservation of trees is paramount to success. Trees are sources of great natural beauty and contribute many practical benefits to healthy cities.

The City of Lakewood is working hard to revise tree codes and preserve urban tree canopy. Read the article below to find out more about trees in Lakewood, tree code, the tree advisory committee, and the Urban Forestry Program.

February 2023: Workforce Development

Workforce Development is a pressing issue for businesses in Lakewood, especially now that we are in recovery from the Covid-19 emergency. During the pandemic, job postings in the region were at an extreme low while the amount of workers looking for jobs increased dramatically. This imbalance caused hardship for many workers, families, and businesses, as many people were unemployed during this period.

While the labor market has rebounded for the most part, businesses in the region have been coming to grips with a still-changing landscape. In this article you will find information about unemployment and job growth by industry, housing and work-from-home, workforce education and training opportunities; and hiring and retention practices and strategies that are working for local businesses.


Common Questions

What is Economic Development?

  • Economic Development means different things to different people. Generally, it is the creation of wealth – from which community benefits are realized. Strategic planning, real estate development and reuse, and technology led economic development initiatives are critical pieces of the puzzle when fostering and creating a healthy economy.
  • The work is focused in three main areas:
    • 1) Business Retention and Expansion (BRE);
    • 2) Business Recruitment; and
    • 3) Making the city Attractive for new Businesses.

How do I start a business in Lakewood, and what resources are available?

  • Please visit our Business Resources page for information on starting a business, business licensing, and for resources available to businesses in Lakewood.
  • If you have questions or unique needs for your business, please contact our Economic Development team at (253) 983-7738.

How do I get a business license in Lakewood?

  • Visit the Business Resources page for more information on starting a business in Lakewood.

Does Lakewood offer business incentives?

How do I go about getting a grant or government contract in Lakewood?

How do I get a permit in Lakewood?

  • Please visit our Permit Center for more information about permits in Lakewood.

How long does it take to get a building permit?

What can I do with my property in Lakewood?

Why do some properties remain vacant for years?

  • Long-term vacant properties can happen for several reasons:
    • 1) Contamination on the site
    • 2) Legal issues complicating a sale or redevelopment effort
    • 3) Owner is holding out for a price well above market value
    • 4) Ground characteristics making site development problematic
    • 5) Building code issues that are cost prohibitive to come into compliance

Economic Reports

Department Reports & Plans

Permit Reports

Demographics Reports

Business Retention & Expansion Reports


Community DevelopmentDevelopment Services
Long-Range PlanningDeveloping in Lakewood