Not too big & not too small – Pierce County is the right place for investment & growth

South Hill Puyallup’s Centeris campus officially welcomed an exciting new tenant in March that may help the region usher in the future

San Diego-based ScaleMatrix, a high-density colocation and managed-services provider, brings Dynamic Density Control (DDC) technology to Centeris’ 86-acre South Hill Data Center Campus, owned and operated by The Benaroya Company. The data center is the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.

A colocation facility is a data center in which several businesses lease space for servers, as well as other computing and networking hardware. ScaleMatrix contracts with Centeris to provide the physical environment and security, then leases to a variety of customers who provide servers for storage. The center’s unique capabilities around density, energy and cost efficiency help ensure better infrastructure performance and better outcomes for even the most demanding technology systems. That’s good news for the region’s diverse mix of industries and a big draw for companies looking to relocate to the area.

“The push for advanced computing in applications such as artificial intelligence, genomics, aerospace, and automated services is truly a global movement,” said Larry Benaroya, Centeris director. “Here in Pierce County lies one of the very few examples of IT infrastructure that is ready and capable of supporting these activities today.”

The EDB was on hand for the ScaleMatrix exclusive launch event held March 14, joining Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, representatives from The Benaroya Company and ScaleMatrix, and others to tour the facility and learn more about the center’s cutting-edge features and capabilities.

Setting up shop on the Centeris campus made perfect sense for ScaleMatrix. “The region is home to an exceptional mix of enterprise business organizations that depend on technology to help them succeed in today’s competitive market,” said Chris Orlando, ScaleMatrix CEO and co-founder. “By combining ScaleMatrix technology and services with the resources at this fantastic location, we can now deliver capabilities to the Pacific Northwest market that were previously unavailable.”

By partnering with The Benaroya Company at South Hill, ScaleMatrix has access to significant real estate, competitive power pricing, regional, national and global connectivity options, and Centeris’ exceptional management team.

“This unique data center is a big win for Pierce County,” said EDB President and CEO Bruce Kendall. “DDC technology will go a long way to support the needs of existing and future South Sound companies.”

In a recent opinion piece in the Puget Sound Business Journal, Bruce Kendall and Jonathan Smith, executive director of the Yakima County Development Association, explain why Washington State’s tax structure should be revised to encourage data centers to locate in urban areas of the State.

Sumner is Sizzlin’ 

The Rhubarb Pie Capital of the World is growing a lot more than delicious pastry filling. From industrial expansion to development that will nurture artists and entrepreneurs, projects a-plenty are in progress and in the works for the City of Sumner:

Industrial building boom. Seven industrial buildings totaling more than 840,000 square feet are under construction or in the planning phases. Prep for 23 building pads is in progress. All told, permitting is in process for more than 1 million square feet of warehouse space.

Win for Sumner and salmon. The City renegotiated the sale of the former Sumner Meadows Golf Links property to include only 74 acres of the original 156 acres. Remaining land and additional acreage will be utilized for a flood protection overflow area for salmon recovery. The reworking allows needed economic development in the valley while providing habitat for endangered and threatened salmon runs. Sumner is working closely with the Muckleshoot and Puyallup tribes, Pierce County and the City of Pacific on the monumental effort.

Photo by Morf Morford
Photo by Morf Morford

Town center ready to rise. The brokerage listing for a bundle of parcels near Sumner City Hall has been awarded to Kidder Mathews for the town center/downtown redevelopment project. The vision for the project is four-story mixed-use development with ground-floor retail that will complement Sumner’s historic downtown.

Cut to commercial. Several significant commercial and residential projects are also in progress, including The Main & Lofts, a mixed-use development adjacent to Fred Meyer on East Main, featuring 108 housing units and more than 1,600 square feet of commercial space. The 122-room Candlewood Suites just off SR 167 is scheduled to welcome guests this fall.

Traffic relief ahead. Rail commuters and others cruising through Sumner in late afternoon are well aware of the bottleneck on Traffic Ave. near SR 410. The overpass is expected to be widened in the next few years. Over the next year, the city will work on design, permitting and construction of the $17 million expansion.

Getting artsy and innovative. The city is considering zoning amendments to create an Innovation & Artisan District. Utilizing a long-vacant grocery store, the city hopes is to provide a hub for startups, entrepreneurs, artists and other creative types to kick off and incubate new businesses to complement Sumner’s manufacturing and industrial areas.

Speaking of which. In January of this year, the Puget Sound Regional Council certified the Sumner-Pacific subarea plan to support the continued growth of industrial and manufacturing jobs in the area.

“Sumner embraces its small-town values, but recognizes that to be competitive and vital, it must be forward thinking and innovative,” said Ryan Windish, City of Sumner community development director. “From new construction to traffic solutions to projects that enhance the quality of life for our citizens and visitors, Sumner is and will continue to be a great place to live, work and do business.”

For more information about what’s happening in Sumner, contact Ryan Windish or visit the city’s website at

As this "Star of Destiny" by Allen C. Mason (embedded in the sidewalk in the Proctor District) implies, Tacoma is the center of commerce and culture of Pierce County. Thanks to the rails, trails, produce and work of all the surrounding communities, we all prosper. Photo: Morf Morford
As this “Star of Destiny” by Allen C. Mason (embedded in the sidewalk in the Proctor District) implies, Tacoma is the center of commerce and culture of Pierce County. Thanks to the rails, trails, produce and work of all the surrounding communities, we all prosper. Photo: Morf Morford

Final report moves LNG plant one step closer to completion 

The Puget Sound Energy liquefied natural gas project slated for construction on the Tacoma Tideflats looks like it’s back on track. The final supplemental environmental impact statement prepared for the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) was released in late March following months of additional analysis, public hearings and public comment. The report should move the project closer to final permitting and timely completion of the facility.

“We’re pleased, but not surprised, that the final PSCAA report supports the initial findings,” said EDB President and CEO Bruce Kendall. “With this latest milestone, we’re one step closer to bolstering our working waterfront and providing cleaner-burning fuel to enable local companies like TOTE Maritime to remain competitive.”

You can view the full PSCAA report online.

Call for proposals: UW Tacoma Center for Business Analytics

Would your company benefit from having a talented group of graduate students apply smart and creative business analytics solutions to solve an existing business problem? Are you looking for opportunities to improve performance on a complex project? The Center for Business Analytics at the University of Washington Tacoma Milgard School of Business wants to partner with you.

Next Cohort Begins in June

The Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) Applied Project is currently accepting proposals for a new cohort that begins in late June. Over 12 months, teams of three to six MSBA students will apply advanced analytical thinking and technologies to work on an actionable project for your business or organization. Student teams work under the direction of Milgard School of Business faculty advisors.

There’s no cost to participate in the program. Just provide a brief proposal that outlines a problem or opportunity that needs to be addressed. MSBA project proposals are due June 10, 2019, and may be completed online.

If you have questions or would like more information, contact Michael Helser, Milgard Center for Business Analytics academic advisor, at or 253-692-4883.


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