The Biz Buzz

Get the most up-to-date news, insights and analysis of Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound business.

NOTICE: The Biz Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved The Biz Buzz.
Visit the new section.

Archives: Oct. 2009

Oct.
30th

Elks Temple properties change hands

Ownership of the downtown Elks Temple and the adjacent property officially changed hands Friday.

“This is a major step towards bringing this project to fruition,” said developer Rick Moses in a news release announcing the closing.

Portland developer Williams & Dame transferred ownership of the Elks building to McMenamins Pubs & Breweries, and of the vacant land to the north to the City of Tacoma.

Tacoma’s City Council approved agreements in September that separated the projects even though development will roll along simultaneously. McMenamins bought the building and the land under it for $1.2 million, and the city bought the

Read more »

Oct.
29th

Passenger traffic at Sea-Tac showing signs of revival

New figures from Sea-Tac Airport show September passenger traffic was down just .2 percent from the record levels of September 2008.

Those passenger traffic numbers came in spite of fewer daily flights and fewer available passenger seats.

That trend to fewer flights is a result of airlines trimming excess capacity in the face of less robust demand for seats during the recession.

In October, the airport is reporting 406 daily departures compared with 428 daily during October last year. Average daily available seats are 51,993 compared with 57,233 in October 2008.

Planes are operating closer to capacity because

Read more »

Oct.
29th

Apple store, Sephora coming to Tacoma Mall

It’s official: Tacoma’s getting an Apple store.

Tacoma Mall spokeswoman Sarah Bonds just told me that the old Nordstrom space will be divided into three spaces: One for Apple, one for beauty retailer Sephora and one for a retailer she can’t announce yet.

The old Nordstrom is two stories and about 106,000 square feet. Bonds said the un-named retailer will take up most of the space and have the outside entrances, and that all three tenants will have mall entrances.

Apple and Sephora plan to open in late spring or early summer of next year. The third will open sometime

Read more »

Oct.
29th

Bellevue’s Expedia posts higher profits despite recession

Bellevue’s Expedia Inc.’s third quarter profits rose 23 percent despite the recession that has depressed airline fares and hotel rates, the company reported today.

The online travel company reported net income of $117 million or 48 cents a share after adjustments compared with profits of $94.8 million or 39 cents a share in last year’s third quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted income of 43 cents a share. Share prices were down seven cents a share in early trading today after the announcement.

The company’s gross bookings increased 9 percent on 26 percent more transactions driven in part

Read more »

Oct.
29th

Machinists to vote on contract at Alaska Air

Alaska Airlines’ 3,425 clerical, office, passenger service, ramp and stores workers will vote on proposed two-year contract extensions, the airline said today.

Those workers are represented by the International Association of Machinists.

The terms of those new contract offers weren’t revealed to the public. The proposals, if approved, would extend the present contracts through July 2012.

Two separate contracts cover 2,800 office and passenger service personnel and 625 ramp service and stores agents.

The vote is expected to be complete by mid-December. The existing contracts were due to become amendable on July 19, 2010.

Oct.
28th

Dick’s Sporting Goods will open first Washington store in South Hill Mall

Dick’s Sporting Goods will make its initial foray into Washington at Puyallup’s South Hill Mall, the mall announced today.

The Pittsburgh-based sporting goods chain has already started demolition work on the former Circuit City and Linens ‘n’ Things stores that will house the sporting goods retailer.

The store will occupy 60,000 square feet of space when it opens next spring. Circuit City and Linens ‘n’ Things vacated the space when both went bankrupt.

Dicks has more than 400 stores in 40 states, primarily in the East. The company also owns Golf Galaxy Inc., a golf specialty retailer with 91 stores

Read more »

Oct.
28th

Rainier Pacific stock in danger of delisting

The price of shares in Rainier Pacific Financial Group has fallen below the Nasdaq Stock Market threshold, and the stock is in danger of being delisted, the company said in a news release Wednesday.

Rainier Pacific Financial Group Inc. was notified by the Nasdaq Stock Market late last week that its stock was not in compliance with the exchange’s rules. The total value of shares in the Tacoma-based bank has fallen below $5 million for 30 consecutive business days, the company said. Shares closed unchanged Wednesday at 45 cents, giving a total market value of $2.83 million. A year ago,

Read more »

Oct.
28th

Boeing taking 787 second line to South Carolina

The irresistible attraction of lower wages, a big state incentive and a non-union environment lured The Boeing Co. to announce this afternoon that it will build a second 787 Dreamliner production line in South Carolina.

Attempts by Sen. Patty Murray to orchestrate an eleventh-hour meeting between the company and its Machinists Union to salvage a new labor agreement deal weren’t successful, and the company cast its lot with the site in North Charleston, S.C.

Boeing had sought no-strike concessions from the Machinists as part of the consideration for putting the second line in Everett where the first production line for the Dreamliner is located.

But despite negotiations between the union and the company last week, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement.

South Carolina is a right-to-work state where establishing a union is more difficult. The company has been the subject of multiple strikes in the last two decades at its production facilities in the Puget Sound area.

“Establishing a second 787 assembly line in Charleston will expand our production capability to meet the market demand for the airplane,” said Boeing CEO Jim Albaugh, the new president of Boeing’s commercial airplane operation.

“This decision allows us to continue building the synergies we have established in South Carolina with Boeing Charleston and Global Aeronautica,” he said. Read more »