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Why Auburn?

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.   

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. 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. 

3. 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. 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.

C. 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.

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

E. 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.