The Port Commission has authorized a Purchase and Sale agreement with Pando Innovations, LLC (Itek Energy) for approximately two acres of property and a 48,000 square foot warehouse near Bellingham’s downtown waterfront at 800 Cornwall Avenue. This transaction allows Itek Energy, Washington’s leading manufacturer of solar panels, to expand and hire additional employees to meet a growing demand for commercial and residential applications.
“Itek has experienced tremendous growth since we began full production in 2012’” said Founder and CEO of Itek Energy, John Flanagan. “We need a larger manufacturing facility to help meet a growing demand for our products as consumers recognize the benefits of solar to the environment, prices become increasingly competitive with carbon-rich sources of energy, and our company continues to introduce innovative technologies to the market.”
Itek Energy currently employs 95 full-time workers and plans to hire an additional 30 employees after the Cornwall Plant is up and running.
"Working with the good people at Itek to help them grow and strengthen our economy has been a genuine pleasure” said Port Commission President Michael McAuley. “Their choice to make Bellingham's core the preferred location for expansion was a welcome surprise as the Port works to backfill jobs lost when GP closed."
The negotiated sale price for the land and the warehouse is approximately $1.7 Million. Itek Energy plans make significant upgrades to the Cornwall Avenue warehouse using a variety of sustainable approaches including solar energy, natural light, recycled materials, and resource efficiency to minimize environmental impacts and create and healthier and more comfortable working environment.
"I'm excited to have clean energy businesses grow on our waterfront" said Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville. "An expansion of these types of manufacturing jobs is exactly what we'd like to see in our light industrial zones."
“We are excited to help a local company grow and expand their workforce” said Port Executive Director Rob Fix. “Whatcom County has a strong and diverse manufacturing sector and Itek Energy is another great example that this is an excellent place to do business.”
The 800 Cornwall Avenue property is located within the Port’s 237-acre downtown waterfront redevelopment area. “The Port is seeing increased interest from the business community in expanding to the waterfront” said Fix. “The Itek Energy project will add 125 jobs to an increasingly vibrant downtown core which will have a positive impact on the surrounding businesses.”
This month, the Port finished the environmental cleanup work necessary to support the mixed-use redevelopment of 19 acres of waterfront property near the Itek Energy parcel. The first road, park and commercial building are on schedule to be open to the public next year. Harcourt Developments, a private development partner recently announced plans to build four large scale projects on the waterfront within the next several years.
“We are excited to be relocating to downtown Bellingham and to be part of the waterfront redevelopment project” said Flanagan. “It is the ideal live, work and play environment.”
The Port is also building a new $10 million manufacturing facility for local boat builder All American Marine and continues to market developable property to help rebuild the waterfront economy.