Weyerhaeuser's departure a blow to Federal Way

by: Nick McGurk Updated:

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FEDERAL WAY, Wash. —

Weyerhaeuser announced Tuesday it would be moving its headquarters, along with 800 jobs, from Federal Way to Seattle.

Peter Von Reichbauer represents South King County on the King County Council.

He told KIRO 7 the announcement is a “substantial hit to our local economy.”

"It is a big impact, certainly,” said Brian Wilson, chief of staff for Federal Way’s mayor.

He says they'd been hearing rumors for six months that Weyerhaeuser might be leaving their 430-acre campus.

Wilson tells us Federal Way’s mayor sent Weyerhaeuser's CEO a letter asking about the rumors last week but never got a response.

"We found out about that officially, today,” said Wilson.

The focus moving forward will be on marketing the campus. Weyerhaeuser plans to move to Seattle in 2016.

KIRO 7 spoke to Tacoma’s mayor Marilyn Strickland. She says what’s happening now in Federal Way sounds familiar. Back in 2009, Russell Investments announced they were leaving for Seattle – and taking with them 900 jobs.

"Cities that are part of a region, poaching each other for business, isn't exactly the best economic development strategy,” said Strickland.

"I could see how Federal Way feels like this is a big blow, but they can come back from this is well,” she added.

Strickland says it took years, but the building is now occupied by a regional State Farm office. She told KIRO 7 the company employs 1,200 people inside.

"How do you come back, how do you pick yourself back up?” said Strickland.

"Even when a company moves from a city, you can recover from it. It is actually something you can recover from,” she added.