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THE HERALD BUSINESS JOURNAL    EVERETT, WASHINGTON

SEPTEMBER 21, 2014 Search 
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Tom Hoban

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Jim Davis, Editor
jdavis@heraldnet.com
Published: Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Monroe poised to outpace all Snohomish County cities

Once a sleepy little town, Monroe is rapidly becoming one of Snohomish Counties most compelling places to invest. A blend of master-planned communities, town center retail developments, financial and medical services, parks, schools and entertainment are all in the mix there now. It offers residents a strong local employment base, too, with nearly 10,000 jobs for the 17,000-plus residents in city limits. Those who commute to work can get to the Boeing plant in Everett in 22 minutes on average and the biotech employment centers in Bothell and Woodinville in 15 minutes.

The city’s backbone is its strong median household income of $68,000 per year, above the Snohomish County median of $64,033, the Washington state median of $56,444 and the U.S. median household income of $51,413. With new access points on U.S. 2 at Bickford Avenue and expansion of Highway 522 to accommodate commuters to and from King County, Monroe is location advantaged and fairly affluent.

Its business-literate mayor and staff see even bigger things ahead. Providence Physicians’ Group’s new clinic is under construction and Walmart is scheduled to begin construction soon, said Jeff Sax, the city’s economic development director. The developments will bring more than 300 jobs to the community. Over time, the city hopes to see the Department of Transportation complete a long-discussed east-west bypass for U.S. 2 to address the gridlock issues that plague its core. Surrounded by farmland, new businesses are showing up in Monroe tied to organic farming and other farm-related industries. Its airport services a growing private aircraft demand.

For years, Monroe was best known as the last place to gas up before heading east over Stevens Pass. The Evergreen State Fairgrounds and a state penitentiary might have defined it as well. Its location, however, has given it distinct advantages in being able to diversify and attract a nice blend of residential and commercial uses that other I-5-dependent communities struggle with today.

“Monroe is poised to be Snohomish County’s fastest growing city in the next 10 years, attracting investors who see its potential,” says Sax, who served as a Snohomish County Councilman several years ago. “It’s fun to work in an environment that has so many advantages.”

Tom Hoban is CEO of The Coast Group of Companies. Contact him at 425-339-3638 or tomhoban@coastmgt.com.