Darrington Wood Innovation Center awarded $6M federal grant


Plans to build a $73 million, 100-acre timber facility dedicated to supporting the creation of new wood products in rural Snohomish County received a significant boost from the federal government.

The US Economic Development Administration (EDA), a bureau within the US Department of Commerce, announced a $6 million grant in support of the planned Darrington Wood Innovation Center. The Wood Innovation Center received a $2 million state grant last year, and also support from Forterra, which will develop and manage the Innovation Center’s construction. The money from the EDA is the “final piece of necessary funding,” said Darrington Mayor Dan Rankin.

Said US Sen. Maria Cantwell:

“The Darrington Wood Innovation Center would be the first of its kind in the United States, creating a campus where environmentally-friendly building materials, like cross-laminated timber, will be produced and where people will come to research and learn about these state-of-the-art wood products and how these products can be used to build next-generation, safe, and sustainable buildings. I am proud to have worked with Mayor Rankin and the community to support this project, which will create timber industry jobs in rural Snohomish County, and I will continue working to support Washington’s innovative mass timber industry.”

The Wood Innovation Center aims to be an economic engine for Snohomish County and the City of Darrington. Once complete, the Innovation Center is expected to create 156 jobs and generate $22 million in private investment.

“The Darrington Wood Innovation Center will transform this rural community into an innovation hub, developing sustainable, low-carbon cross-laminated timber (CLT) and investing in training a skilled workforce,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “These funds will allow the Center to break ground later this year, paving the region’s way to economic development and security.”

Interest in innovative wood products and traditional wood products has increased as consumers, builders and civic leaders demand more sustainable and environmentally friendly developments. The, result has been an increase in new development projects that incorporate timber and engineered wood products in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

The Brewery Blocks, a mixed-use residential and commercial development in Tacoma’s Brewery District, includes a 14-story high rise made of cross-laminated timber. Brewery Blocks developers touted the benefits of wood, noting that wood is a renewable resource that is more sustainable and environmentally friendly than concrete or steel.

The Puget Sound Business Journal reported that the Seattle area’s first mass timber office building is set to be completed this summer. The 46,000-square-foot building is built with “dowel-laminated timber from Pacific Northwest forests” and is noteworthy as the “first mass timber commercial development of this scale in the area.”

And the Capitol Hill Seattle blog reported this week plans for the much-anticipated grocery store passed a milestone with the Seattle Design Review Board’s approval to advance toward permitting. The 8-story, 102-unit timber apartment building and ground floor retail space incorporates a significant amount of wood because it is “incredibly strong, requires less energy to produce” and many of mass timber components can be prefabricated off-side, speeding up construction.