Under One Roof: Commerce Center open house highlights Pierce, Tacoma economic development cooperation

Four key economic development groups in Tacoma and Pierce County joined forces this week, as the newly crowned Commerce Center at 950 Pacific Ave. held an open house event for area residents and business leaders.

The building is home to the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County, the Pierce County Office of the County Executive Economic Development Division, the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber and the World Trade Center Tacoma — all recently assembled in the same location.

According to Sonja M. Hall, Communications Manager and Media Center Director at the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, housing the agencies under one roof was a sensible and cost-effective move. “This was a concerted effort to join spaces,” she said. “The Economic Development Board and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, in particular, work together on area projects and regional partnerships. We now share a common building, common space, and this co-location provides easy access for the public to gather information from one place.”

Hall also said that agencies would share on-site resources, such as conference rooms.

The Pierce County Office of the County Executive Economic Development Division moved from its office on South Tacoma Way in Lakewood. The World Trade Center Tacoma and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, previously located in the building, remodeled their offices.

The Pierce County Office of the County Executive Economic Development Division works to maintain a business environment that provides the foundation of a jobs-based economy. The department uses strategic partnerships with economic development counterparts throughout Pierce County to increase employment, tax base and wealth creation.

The Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County is a private, non-profit corporation established in 1978 as a partnership between private business and the public sector to encourage economic development in Tacoma-Pierce County.  The organization strives to increase the quality and number of jobs as well as capital investment within the county. 

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is one of the largest business organizations in Washington state. Formed in 1884, the Chamber consists of nearly 1,500 businesspeople, and is a non-profit organization funded primarily by member dues paid by area businesses. The Chamber promotes economic prosperity and a strong business climate throughout Pierce County.

The World Trade Center Tacoma provides resources and services that assist individuals and organizations do business globally. The organization works with more than 500,000 companies and individuals engaged in international trade.

“This is the best leverage of resources,” said David W. Graybill, President and CEO of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce. Graybill said the Commerce Center is a model that other communites have adopted successfully. “We saw a model like this in Spokane awhile ago, and came back enthused,” he added. “We modeled this center with that synergy in mind.”