Tribe plans terminal where casino once stood 5-1-07

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - The Puyallup Tribe has reached a deal with Seattle-based SSA Marine to build a shipping container terminal where the tribe's casino operations once stood.

SSA Marine, the largest U.S.-owned terminal operator, will design and build the $300 million, 180-acre terminal along the eastern shore of the Blair Waterway in Tacoma's Tideflats, according to the deal announced by the tribe Monday.

The terminal would be the largest in the port, and the only container terminal not owned by the Port of Tacoma. It would be operated by SSA Marine, which also operates terminals in Seattle, California and elsewhere around the world.

“This partnership will benefit the entire region,” said Herman Dillon, chairman of the tribe. “Several thousand high-paying jobs will be created, and the container shipping volume of the port will be significantly expanded. The partnership between SSA and the Puyallup Tribe reaffirms the tribe's commitment to economic development.”

Last year, SSA Marine bought 52 acres of industrial land adjacent to the tribe's 128-acre property on the Blair Waterway for $11.7 million, according to Pierce County Assessor records.

The agreement calls for the company to transfer ownership of that property to the tribe, which will then enter into a long-term lease agreement with the company. Financial details of the lease were not released.

The tribe will apply to add the 52 acres into trust status, spokesman John Weymer said.

The proposed container terminal will include two ship berths and offer space for the storage and transfer of shipping containers. Construction is expected to take four to five years.