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The following list provides a significant list of business incentives.  In no way do we represent that every opportunity listed in this site can apply to each prospective Auburn business, but this list is compiled to offer options for consideration to our prospective client partners.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve!

1. General Service:

A. Auburn is not a major metropolis.  This allows for personalized service that only a mid-sized community can offer.  To that end we have created "Our Service Pledge". 

B. When you come to Auburn with a new project the first question our One-Stop Permit Center often asks is "When do you need to be open?"  Early Site Review, including formal and informal Pre-Application Review meetings are routinely utilized to allow the City to work with designers for the earliest possible time, avoiding costly mistakes, and to guide applicants through a more predictable process and outcome.

C. Workforce Development, Business Assistance and Business Development Programs are services routinely provided through our Office of Economic Development.  We are able to assist clients with specific training needs upon request, and a list of many past events are available in the video library.

D. The City of Auburn Office of Economic Development is always pleased to make introductions between our local businesses and prospective new business.  Face-to-face introductions are an essential part of our economic mission. The City has a wide variety of contacts; material suppliers, manufacturers, supply and logistics, alternative energy equipment, education, professional, medical, etc.  We are eager to assist you in any way necessary.

2. Innovation Partnership Zone (IPZ):

A. The IPZ is intended to promote opportunities for collaboration and partnering between the City, researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, industry associations and training providers.  The "Auburn Center for Innovative Partners" has diverse industries engaged in innovative research, development, and production.

3. Downtown Urban Center (DUC):

A. Multi-Family Tax Exemption:  The Auburn DUC provides the opportunity for multi-family property tax exemptions of 8 years for new multi-family or rehabilitated housing units constructed downtown; or 12 year tax exemptions for qualified affordable housing units.  Detailed information on this program is located within the online Auburn City Code 3.94.  

B. Downtown Zoning and Design Standards:  The City has worked aggressively to review and amend its DUC Zoning Regulations and associated Design Standards to guide development within the zone in the easiest possible ways.  (Please Note: Auburn has no Design Review Board.  Reviews within the DUC are performed at staff level.)

C. Comprehensive Environmental Impact Review:  A downtown Environmental Impact Review (EIR) has been completed for the Urban Core.  Projects submitted will benefit from a significantly improved timeline as they will only need a project review for compliance with the EIR Statement.

D. Store Front Improvement Program:  The Auburn City Council has created a program to help fund the revitalization of the existing building facades. 

E. Storefronts Art Program:  The Storefronts Auburn Program has been launched to bring art installations and artists into vacant retail space within the DUC.

F. New Market Tax Credits:  Businesses that are developing, buying, or remodeling in downtown Auburn census tracts can get equity or below-market loans through this federal program.  Investors in these projects can receive up to 39% tax credits over seven years.  For additional program information visit the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund website

4. Citywide Incentives Programs:

A. Impact and System Development Fee Deferral:  The City of Auburn has approved code authorizing the deferral of Impact and SDC Fees to Occupancy of projects as opposed to collecting fees at building permit issuance to help developers and builders strengthen their project performa.

B. Fee Maintenance to 2009 Rates:  To assist builders and developers through the current economic recession, the City Council given approval to maintain all building, land use and engineering review fees at 2009 levels.

C. Construction Sales Tax Refund:  This program provides a modification to Auburn City Code providing a refund for purchasers who have paid Sales and Use Tax on construction materials, fixed equipment, labor and services, or machinery installation directly related to new commercial construction, or redevelopment of existing vacant buildings.  The program provides a refund of up to $100,000 or 20% of the tax paid within land use zones DUC, C3, C4, and M1, M2 districts.

D. System Development Charges (SDC) and Utility Connections Reductions: Customers who use large amounts of water have an opportunity to save money by selecting certain design elements when presenting their projects to the City of Auburn.

Options Include:

  • Size the water service and meter to meet the building needs. Oversized meters cost more through increased SDCs and monthly water and sewer utility charges.
  • Consider using individual meters appropriately sized for each building on parcels with multiple buildings. Large master meters that serve multiple buildings may cost more through increased SDCs and monthly water and sewer utility charges.

E. System Development Charge Credits:  SDC credits for prior site/building uses can be utilized to help offset the impacts of System Development Charges.

F. Storm Water Discharge Reductions:
All new development and redevelopment in Western Washington communities is required to use Low Impact Development (LID) techniques to manage their storm water and to reduce the impacts to our rivers and streams. Auburn encourages developers to reduce the amount of impervious area on their site, preserve natural areas and trees, and use pervious surfacing, bio-retention and rain gardens. These storm water management techniques enhance the aesthetic appeal of the development, provide environmental benefits, and can save money with lower SDCs and monthly storm utility charges.

5. Puget Sound Energy (PSE) Programs:

A. The City of Auburn relies on our energy partner PSE for our reliable energy supply.  PSE offers numerous programs for commercial businesses with a focus on Energy Efficiency.  PSE programs range from appliance and equipment purchases, building controls and systems, engineering and design assistance, to alternative energy components.  City staff will work closely with your designers and the specialists at PSE to identify potential system savings. Visit the PSE website for more information.

6. State of Washington Assistance:

A. The Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) is Washington's strategic economic development resource, focused on creating and retaining jobs in partnership with local government. CERB finances public infrastructure to encourage new development and expansion in targeted areas.  Visit the Choose Washington Website for information.

B. Small Business Credit:  Administered through the Department of Commerce, the CAP will target small businesses with credit needs in the range of $5,000 to $100,000 that have had difficulty accessing credit.  The CAP will provide additional insurance by establishing a fund that lenders can access in the event of loan defaults.  For additional information, visit the Choose Washington Website.

C. Small Business Financing:  Administered through the Department of Commerce, Craft3 direct loans primarily target business financing needs of $1-5M.  Its collaboration efforts with other CFDIs and lenders in the state targets smaller loans through a shared risk structure.  For additional information, visit the Choose Washington Website.

D. The W Fund - Venture Capital:  The W Fund is a $25M venture fund, available for investment into early-stage life science, biotech, medical device, alternative energy, and information technology companies emerging from University of Washington, Washington State University, and other research centers across Washington State.  Administered through the Department of Commerce, information can be found at the Choose Washington Website.

E. Incentive Programs - Deferrals, Exemptions, and Credits:  New and existing manufacturers, research and development firms, and certain high technology companies can benefit from several tax incentives offered by the state of Washington.  With numerous programs to choose from, these incentives are intended to encourage the creation and preservation of family-wage jobs, especially in areas with high unemployment.  For more information visit the Washington State Department of Revenue website.

F. Industrial Revenue Bonds: Provide financing for land, building and equipment for new and expanding manufacturing facilities.  These loans may be used to encourage relocations and expansions of companies that provide jobs and expand economic opportunities for residents and the community. Tax exempt bonds may be applied for by the manufacturer, processing company or wholesale distribution center.  For more information visit the Choose Washington Website.

7. Federal Business Assistance:

A. Work Force Opportunity Tax Credit: The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a Federal tax credit incentive that the Congress provides to private-sector businesses for hiring individuals from nine target groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. The objective is to enable the targeted employees to move from economic dependency into self-sufficiency.  Participating employers are compensated by being able to reduce their federal income tax liability.

B. Federal Contracting Preference – Hub Zone Program:  The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a program which provides Contracting Preference on Federal Contracts for small businesses located with qualified Hub Zones.  Auburn’s Hub Zone is located north of Highway 18 between West Valley Highway and Auburn Way and is bordered on the north by 277th Street. 

C. Small Business Administration (SBA):  SBA offers a variety of support services from helping to navigate the initial business applications, to information about loans and grant programs.  View more at: