Renton: Right for Business
Renton: A Great Community
Renton at a GlanceLocated on the south shore of Lake Washington, Renton is a lakefront city offering spectacular views of the Olympics, the Cascades and Mount Rainier. The Cedar River, which runs through the heart of downtown, also offers an abundance of natural beauty. Renton’s wonderful amenities, rich past, strategic location, and extraordinary community spirit inspire a community of collaboration.
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Renton is located on the south end of Lake Washington, and is –
- Sixteen minutes from downtown Seattle and downtown Bellevue
- Six miles northeast of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
- Three driving hours from Vancouver, British Columbia and Portland, Oregon
- The hub city for three interstate freeways and four state highways
|Incorporated||September 6, 1901|
|Area||17.85 square miles|
|Form of government||Elected Mayor / 7-member City Council|
|Median age||36.20 years|
|Median household income||$48,658|
|Average household income||$60,383|
|Average household wealth||$175,424|
|Annual consumer expenditures||$1.0 billion|
|Assessed property valuation||$8.4 billion|
|Average 2005 property tax rate||$10.94 per $1,000 assessed value|
Renton: Right for Business
Renton, a 17-square-mile urban community, provides a close-in, convenient location for businesses. With more than 55,360 residents and 35,600 jobs, Renton is the fifth-largest city in King County, and the 13th-largest city in Washington State. Renton is centrally located, accessible by four state highways and Interstate 405, and is only minutes away from Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, and the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
In the early 1990s, Renton promised to streamline the permit process and make a concerted effort to bring in new business. Renton delivered!
Since then, a revamped permitting process and aggressive economic development program have brought in many key businesses. In addition, new housing is being constructed and neighborhoods are being revitalized and created. Located at the south end of Lake Washington, Renton offers a convenient location with rich development opportunities. Vacant land and substantial redevelopment areas are available in Renton at more affordable rates than in Seattle or Bellevue.
Bedford Property Investors has chosen a sundial as the centerpiece of their remodeled Renton Office Park.
The City of Renton continues to work hard to create an environment that supports business development while enhancing the quality of life in the community. The Mayor, City Council and staff nurture the entrepreneurial spirit and foster successful public-private partnerships. In particular, the city streamlined permitting and reduced approval time in order to help expedite quality developments. The city recruited
businesses to diversify the employment base and created and implemented bold strategic economic development plans that redefine the future of Renton. Renton’s regulatory reform and strategic economic development efforts are now used as a statewide model.
Even with the relative fluctuation in manufacturing jobs, Renton continues to make great strides in recruitment and retention efforts. There have been increased numbers of jobs in wholesale, retail and business services, including many diverse small- and medium-size companies.
Industry and Retail
Renton’s industrial market is flourishing. Jefferson Smurfit Corp., Aero-Plastics Inc., Kenworth Truck Co., Renton Coil Spring Co., Kaye-Smith, and others help make this an ideal location for manufacturers and wholesalers.
Renton’s two biggest manufacturing businesses are both experiencing job growth. Production is ramping up at PACCAR’s Kenworth Plant with more than 550 new jobs this past year.
Boeing’s Renton operations accounts for 31 percent of jobs here, and production of the 737 is increasing. Employment is stabilizing and is expected to remain so in this decade and into the next.
Equally exciting is Boeing’s award of the Navy’s Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft contract and its decision to build what is projected to be 300 of the new submarine hunters at the Renton plant. This contract alone means more than 1,100 additional jobs in our community.
Major retailers thrive in the Renton market including Fry’s Electronics, Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart, and IKEA’s only store in the Pacific Northwest. Automobile dealers and other smaller businesses add millions of dollars to the local economy.
The business community provided over $16.5 million in sales tax revenue to the City of Renton in 2004, representing about 25 percent of the city’s overall general fund revenue. Renton’s friendly, pro-business climate and ample development opportunities have provided room for a multitude of key businesses including Topics Entertainment, the nation’s premier publisher of educational, reference and language software, and Wizards of the Coast, the world leader in hobby gaming.
Public/Private Economic Development Ventures
There is excitement in the air about Harvest Partners’ Lakeshore Landing project in north Renton. Forty-six acres of former Boeing property will take shape as a vibrant mixed-use retail environment unlike any other in the Puget Sound region. Harvest Partners expects to break ground by March 2006 on as much as 800,000 square feet of retail, theater and restaurant space, and as many as 850 housing units.
It will also bring a new energy to the Lake Washington shoreline, driving the next phases of development at Southport, where SECO Development would like to construct its second apartment building, adding 200 more housing units to the neighborhood.
Renton will soon take center stage in the financial industry when the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco locates its new Seattle branch headquarters in the Valley at property on the Boeing Longacres site. The City of Renton worked aggressively with the Federal Reserve over the past year to help find a site suitable to their unique needs. And the community supported the city’s recruitment efforts – local leaders made phone calls and sent letters showing Renton’s commitment to bringing the bank to the area. The Federal Reserve’s final decision to locate in Renton is positive proof that Renton is a premier location for high-profile corporate developments. The 11-acre, 94,000-square-foot development will employ approximately 100 people.
Coupled with this development is the city’s commitment to build the first phase of the Southwest 27th/Strander Boulevard project that will eventually connect Renton across two rail lines to Tukwila and provide access to the Sound Transit Longacres Commuter Rail Station from Renton and communities to our south and east. Construction on the first phase of Southwest 27th/Strander Boulevard will begin in 2006.
In addition, downtown Renton will be home to Merrill Gardens, a 155-unit senior housing facility planned on a portion of the old McLendon Hardware site, across from the new transit center. The $24 million project will provide 155 apartments, with a combination of studios and one- and two-bedrooms. Merrill Gardens at Renton Centre is projecting to open in summer 2006.
Renton: A Great CommunityRenton is a community that’s ahead of the curve, an exciting place to live, learn, work and play. It’s evident in the new energy in downtown – fine dining, housing, a Farmers Market, and transit center. Renton has several new amenities including a renovated pavilion, performing arts center, parking garage, and a fantastic new aquatic center. Several new schools and a technology resource center are now open to serve an enterprising population.
The time has never been better to take part in the right opportunity – Renton!
Community Marketing Campaign
Seven years ago, the Renton Community Marketing Campaign was initiated by six key community organizations – the Greater Renton Chamber of Commerce, the City of Renton, Renton School District, Valley Medical Center, Renton Technical College, and the Renton Lodging Association. They launched a proactive, comprehensive marketing campaign to help stimulate Renton’s economic future.
When companies or residents look at locating in Renton they look at the community as a whole – schools, parks, housing, amenities, higher education, public safety, and health and medical care. The goal is to collectively market Renton, to help maintain a healthy community. Stakeholders developed a brand, “Renton. Ahead of the Curve,” to promote a consistent identity that builds on the appeal of the community’s residential, educational and business opportunities, and positions the community for future success. The theme captures Renton’s community and the innovation and creativity of all key stakeholders. By leveraging marketing dollars, stakeholders collectively promote Renton.
The Renton Community Marketing Campaign has been an overwhelming success. Everybody in the region is talking about Renton. The national award-winning campaign has been a catalyst that has raised awareness about the community, opened the door to new business opportunities, and helped ensure Renton’s future success and economic viability.
The Renton Community Foundation
Through the Renton Community Foundation, individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations and private foundations have an effective way to support the work of non-profit organizations and groups that are addressing critical community needs. A tax-exempt 501(c) (3) organization spearheaded by the Greater Renton Chamber, the Renton Community Foundation was established by a group of community leaders to attract, manage and distribute the income from gifts for the betterment of the community. The foundation, in partnership with the community, Renton School District, and the City of Renton, successfully raised $1.5 million to turn a planned auditorium at Renton High School into a 550-seat, state-of-the-art community performing arts center. Gifts to the future touch lives in many ways. Through the Renton Community Foundation, each gesture, each gift, is a catalyst for community giving – and community is what it’s all about.
Education in Renton
Top-quality education is another reason businesses and families choose Renton. The Renton area draws on one of the most educated workforce populations in the nation. There are six four-year colleges and universities, eight community and technical colleges, and numerous private schools within a 25-mile radius of Renton.
Renton School District
(425) 204-2300 • www.rentonschools.us
Dr. Mary Alice Heuschel, Superintendent
Renton School District serves over 13,000 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade at four high schools, three middle schools, 13 elementary schools, and an early childhood center. District programs also address the needs of gifted and special needs students.
The Renton community has a long history of supporting its schools. School levies, which make up nearly 24 percent of the district’s budget, are consistently approved here. Additionally, the community supports the long-range plan to rebuild or renovate school buildings. Voters in 2003 approved a $150 million investment to make school improvements. Construction projects remain on time and on budget.
Test scores on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) are increasing every year. Increases in tests scores have come most notably from students in the district’s most demanding schools. More students are taking difficult classes – each year, enrollment increases in college-level Advanced Placement classes including English, calculus, statistics, chemistry, government, history and four foreign languages. Graduating students are awarded more than $2 million in scholarships each year.
(425) 637-1010 • www.cityu.edu
City University is a private, non-profit institution of higher education founded more than 20 years ago. The university serves working adults who want to build on their education but cannot interrupt their careers to become full-time students. Programs include degrees in business, public administration, and education. The university’s Masters of Business Administration program is the fifth-largest in the nation, and its Masters of Education program is the largest in the state.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
(425) 226-2484 • www.erau.edu/seattle
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) is the world’s oldest, largest, and most prestigious university dedicated to aviation and aerospace. The Seattle/Renton facility is one of 128 extended campuses of ERAU located worldwide. ERAU offers undergraduate and graduate master’s level aviation and technical business degrees. Faculty members are working professionals, skilled in the facilitation of adult education.
Green River Community College
(206) 464-6133 • www.grcc.ctc.edu
This public, two-year college offers programs in academics, vocational training and basic skills. More than 8,000 students are educated in a large service area that spans 3,200 miles from Puget Sound to the Cascade Mountains.
Highline Community College
(206) 878-3710 • www.highline.edu
Highline Community College has served South King County residents and businesses since 1961, offering associate degrees for transfer to four-year colleges and universities, 56 professional-technical degrees and/or certificate options, continuing education, customized training programs for businesses and organizations, and pre-college, basic education, and short-term training programs. The Central Washington University-Des Moines Center is now at Highline, allowing area residents to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in their community as well.
New Horizon School
(425) 226-3717 • www.new-horizon-school.org
New Horizon School provides a supportive learning environment that enables students who have learning differences in grades 6-12 to succeed. New Horizon students typically face challenges such as dyslexia, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, and communication disorder. NHS attracts learners from four counties and over 16 school districts in the greater Puget Sound area.
Pima Medical Institute
(425) 228-9600 • www.pmi.edu
Pima Medical Institute, the oldest Allied Healthcare School in Washington State, offers programs in the Allied Healthcare field – Dental Assistant, Medical Assistant, Medical Administrative Assistant, Pharmacy Technician, Phlebotomy Technician, and Veterinary Assistant. They provide educational opportunities that turn students into competent medical professionals who can meet the expectations of 21st-century employers.
Rainier Christian Schools
Rainier Christian Schools is an inter-denominational Christian school ministry that has been serving South King County for more than 40 years. From its founding days, Rainier Christian Schools has grown into one of the largest Christian school systems in Washington State, serving over 900 students and offering comprehensive educations and extra-curricular programs.
Renton Technical College
(425) 235-2352 • www.RTC.edu
Dr. Don Bressler, President
Renton Technical College (RTC) provides pre-employment training, retraining, apprenticeships and basic skills remediation to more than 14,000 students each year.
The college also provides customized training and services to Puget Sound area businesses, both on-campus and at business sites through its Business Training Centers program.
RTC opened a new $10.5 million Technology Resource Center that offers hundreds of computer workstations in lab and classroom settings for student and community use, a state-of-the-art media classroom and lecture hall, and a new library facility emphasizing library sciences and use of information technology, as well as new adaptive software programs for individuals needing assistance. The college is committed to developing this center and keeping it on the leading edge, honing the community’s skills.