The Port of Astoria has passed on savings offered by the state to one of the agency’s largest seafood-processing tenants.

Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency and a major lender to the Port, decided in May to freeze the Port’s loan payments and interest for a year. Will Isom, the Port’s executive director, estimated the agency would save $900,000 in principal and $300,000 in interest.

Lease

The Port of Astoria agreed to a new 25-year lease with Astoria Pacific Seafoods, which rents part of the Pier 2 seafood processing warehouse.

Much of the state loans went to build a new processing plant at the foot of Pier 1 for Bornstein Seafoods, which covers the loan payments through its lease with the Port. The Port Commission on Tuesday agreed to defer Bornstein’s lease payments for a year dating back to July. The deferment is worth $748,000.

“In terms of net, the Port isn’t out anything, because this is truly a pass-through,” Isom said. “We collect the money monthly from Bornstein, and then every quarter we turn around and hand that over to the state. And so, for a 12-month period, we won’t be giving that money to the state, but we also won’t be receiving it from Bornstein. They will resume payment in July of 2021.”

When the loan is paid off, Bornstein Seafoods would take possession of the plant but continue renting land from the Port.

The Port Commission on Tuesday also agreed to a new lease through 2046 with Astoria Pacific Seafoods, a processor on Pier 2 acquired by Bornstein Seafoods several years ago.

The lease with Astoria Pacific Seafoods was set to expire in December 2026. Matt McGrath, the Port’s deputy director, said he met with Bornstein and decided it would be better to hammer out a new 25-year lease in advance.

The new lease consolidates past amendments, clarifies the areas Astoria Pacific Seafoods leases and lays out what sort of common-area maintenance the company is responsible to perform, McGrath said.

Astoria Pacific Seafoods will start out paying more than $12,500 a month for space in the Pier 2 warehouse and on the docks outside. The new lease also increases Astoria Pacific Seafoods’ rent in the warehouse by 9% a year over the next decade, part of the Port’s goal to bring leases up to market rates.

“We are accepting some higher fees and rates here, but it’s needed,” Bornstein said Tuesday. “I think we all know that.”

Isom lauded Bornstein for being collaborative with the Port on a new lease rather than waiting until 2026.

“They may have benefited from just waiting, rather than engaging now and having this escalation period,” he said. “I think this is one of the rare cases where it was a win for both sides. And as far as staff and trying to look at our finances, I think this is a huge win for us in being able to find a way to get more of these larger leases closer to market.”