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Focus

Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities

2018-19 specialty publication of the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business


CONTENTS 4 9 12 17 20

Market overview Residential growth Commercial real estate City of Kennewick City of Richland

25 32 36 38 41 44 49 55

City of Pasco City of West Richland Port of Kennewick Vista Arts Center Port of Pasco Port of Benton K-12 education Higher education

ABOVE: Construction is underway off Pasco’s Road 68, where developers are building about 700 houses on land previously owned by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. (Photo: Scott Butner Photography) cover: The $37 million Duportail Bridge in Richland is under construction to span the Yakima River and expected to be complete by summer 2020. It will connect central Richland to the Queensgate Drive area. (Photo: Scott Butner Photography)

Shawna Dinh

Marcus Hair

Melanie Hair

Mike Haugen

Kristina Lord

Chad Utecht

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Focus: Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities is a publication of TriComp Inc. All rights reserved. Contents of Focus: Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities are copyright by TriComp Inc. Every effort will be made to assure information published is correct; however, we are not liable for any errors or omissions made despite these efforts.

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 3


Market overview

Tri-Cities boasts stable economy BY ROBIN WOJTANIK

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ore than 1,000 new homes have been built in the Tri-Cities since the start of 2018, but this is barely sustaining an appetite for housing in a market where supply can’t keep up with demand. “We are still in a very hot sellers’ market,” said Lola Franklin, chief executive officer of the TriCity Association of Realtors. The number of available homes for sale is not fully meeting the needs of buyers. The total number of active residential listings on a single day in August 2018 was 680, compared to 825 three years earlier. “While the inventory numbers are coming up — some due to new construction and new developments coming online — it’s happening slowly and housing prices are increasing as well, because of the lower inventory and higher demand,” Franklin said. The number of single-family

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home permits for the Tri-City area through the end of August 2018 was 1,046, which includes homes built in Kennewick, Pasco Richland, West Richland, Benton City, Prosser and unincorporated Benton and Franklin counties. The permit total was 972 through the same period last year, according to the Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities. Despite a slight increase in supply, prices are still rising amid robust demand. The average price for a home sold in August 2018 was $307,000, compared to $229,100 in August 2015. The median price for the same time period also increased from $206,000 to $293,000. Interest rates for mortgages have remained low and the allure of a higher return for a home might inspire homeowners to list theirs to make a tidy profit or to “upsize.” “You look at people that want to move up and they say, ‘Yeah,

the equity in my house is way up. I want to sell,’ but the fact is, ‘I’d have to buy another one here,’ ” Franklin said. “The prices are going to be higher on that one, too, so that’s another thing that affects the inventory. We’re not seeing the move up.” Carl Adrian, president and chief executive officer of the Tri-City Development Council, believes the Tri-City housing market feels a squeeze from retirees who choose to remain in the place where they once worked and raised a family. “They’re not leaving their house and moving someplace else, which makes a house available. They’re staying in it. So, if somebody moves in to take the job that they retired from, they need to have a new house for that worker. I think that can put some pressure on the market more than it might in some communities where people say, ‘I’m done, I’m going to Florida,’ ” he said. Tri-City homes below $300,000


Benton and Franklin counties recorded 1,046 single-family home permits filed through August 2018, an 8 percent increase compared with the same period in 2017. The permits are valued at $617 million, a 14 percent increase compared with the same period’s total in 2017. (Photo: Shawna Dinh)

are in the most demand and usually on the market just briefly before going under contract. “Anecdotally, pricing affects time on the market. Anything under $300,000 will be sold in a day or two, and over that, it just depends on location and price to see how long it will stay,” Franklin said. “Nothing’s staying on the market a long, long time like it used to be, for any priced house now.” Real estate agents in the TriCities tend to see multiple offers for homes with an average asking price of $300,000 or below. Franklin has seen escalation clauses used on some lowerpriced homes, which allow a purchase offer to increase up to a set amount, on behalf of the buyer, in the event multiple offers are made on a single home at the same time. Franklin said the Tri-Cities is fortunate to have such a robust housing climate. “Our area experienced virtually no recession,” she said. “It was un-

common. We didn’t have the huge rising prices or the foreclosures and short sales that other areas had. We just didn’t. The Tri-Cities weathered that extremely well. Our market was stable and is still stable.”

$307,000 Average sale price of a Tri-City home sold in August 2018 This has driven both out-oftown buyers and investors to seek homes in the Tri-Cities. The stability of the market also has driven employment in construction, both for residential and commercial building. The current employment rate in non-farm construction is up a full index point since July 2002, without suffering any real setbacks along the way. Comparably, non-farm construction employment in the

United States dipped from July 2008 to July 2010 before recovering to the 2002 employment level in 2016. The 2018 population of the TriCity metro area, including Benton and Franklin counties, is 289,960, up 2 percent year over year and more than 14 percent since 2010. Adrian said most cities around the state have seen population increases around 12 percent for the same time period. He credits an economy that is no longer fully-dependent on the status of Hanford. “I think of Hanford kind of like a state capitol. It brings a fairly significant amount of money into the community every year, and as a result, the base of the economy seems to be pretty solid,” Adrian said. “And then, what we’re seeing is increased diversification.” Last year, the state Employment Security Department reported total non-farm employment for Benton and Franklin counties was 121,427. u

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 5


In 2017, the construction industry put about 8,000 people to work across Benton and Franklin counties. This is up about 1,100 people year over year, an increase of 16 percent. (Photo: Scott Butner Photography)

There continues to be a demand for those employed in the construction industry, with many builders struggling to find subcontractors. A national cultural shift has encouraged more young adults to pursue baccalaureate

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degrees instead of certification in the skilled trades. “The amount of tradesmen is diminishing,” said Jason Spence, vice president of Central Washington for Pahlisch Homes. “Each year, it gets a little slimmer.”

“Every contractor in town is so busy and slammed,” said Gretchen Payne, project administrator and office manager for G2 Construction of Kennewick. “We’ve had an incredibly successful year and have had to turn work down.” G2 works exclusively in commercial construction and is not a union shop, so it is limited to hiring non-union workers. “The trades are still a challenge. But we call ourselves the G2 family and most people who are with us have been with us for years. We don’t have a lot of coming and going,” Payne said. Finding available land for both the commercial and residential markets remains a challenge for the building industry. “The last three years have been the tightest it’s been,” Payne said. “Land has been going up really quick. Land we thought was available six months ago is gone.” In 2017, the construction


industry put about 8,000 people to work across Benton and Franklin counties. This is up about 1,100 people year over year, an increase of 16 percent. In the five years prior, the construction industry had never had a year-over-year increase in the double digits, and fell 10 percent in 2012, compared with the year before. “Most people in the community have forgotten what a downturn might look like. It’s just always been good,” Adrian said. The successful housing market also continues to drive the amount of people employed in the real estate industry. “We’ve had a significant increase in the number of people getting licensed and started in the profession,” Franklin said. “We’re busier than ever.” The Tri-City Association of Realtors has 890 licensed real estate agents, up from 625 in 2011 when Franklin took over as CEO. She said the largest jump in agents has come within the last two years. Looking ahead to 2019, “I continue to be pretty bullish,” Adrian said. “I think we’ll continue to see growth in employment in the construction industry as long as we only have 500 or 600 singlefamily homes on the market when realtors say you should have 1,200. There’s going to be continued pressure.” For its short-term outlook, the Employment Security Department predicts 500 additional jobs in construction in Benton and Franklin counties in the second quarter of 2019, up from 8,900 for the same period in 2017. “I think it would be good if we saw a continued strong construction industry that maybe took a little pressure off of rising house prices, too,” Adrian said. “It’s still going to depend on the numbers where the tipping point is,” Franklin said of lower housing prices. “It’s anyone’s crystal ball whether it’ll be this year or the next.” l

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Residential growth

(Photo: Shawna Dinh)

Climbing costs hinder homebuyers BY ELSIE PUIG

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competitive sellers’ market in the Tri-Cities is creating bidding wars and raising prices of not only resale homes, but also the price of lots for new construction. Dave Retter, owner of Retter & Co. Sotheby’s International in Kennewick, said it’s not rare for a house to be listed at $190,000 and sell for $200,000 — ultimately raising the value of the home, if not the bank’s appraisal. Buyers can easily become discouraged, Retter said. “When the prices of houses have been rising so rapidly, if buyers don’t have cash to pay the difference, it can be very frustrating,” he said. In a recent four-month span, the average number of days on the market for homes listed between $150,000 to $200,000 has been 12 days for Benton County and 19 days for Franklin County, Retter said. But the homes will have multiple offers in days, sometimes in just a few hours. “It’s not uncommon for a house within a day or two to have two to three offers. It can be very frus-

trating for buyers. They have to make up their mind rather quickly, and you can get beat out by other offers. They have to stay patient,” Retter said. Jeff Smart, broker at Smart Realty and president of the TriCity Association of Realtors has seen this, too.

12 to 19 days Average number of days on the market for homes under $200,000 “In some of the more attractive price points, we’re seeing multiple offers within hours of putting a house in market,” he said. “Sometimes the buyer will be waiting over a year or more. What’s tough is that as you wait to find a home you can afford, prices are going to keep rising.” Retter said a normal market will see 3 percent to 5 percent appreciation annually, but the Tri-Cities is seeing closer to 10 percent appreciation. The average sale price for a home from January to August 2016 was $245,000, in 2017 it was $263,000 and this year it’s upward

of $290,000. Many real estate agents say it’s a simple case of supply and demand in action — a growth in population, with available inventory not keeping pace. And if previous years are any indication, the trend will continue. From January to August 2017, there were 682 homes for sale; this year, that number grew only by two. In 2016, there were 18 more homes available. From January to August 2018, there were 212 active new construction listings, which went up slightly from 160 new construction listings during the same period last year. The average sale price for a new home was $377,000 this year, which is $50,000 more than the average sale price last year of a new home. Retter said a healthy housing market should have 1,200 homes for sale. In August, there were 27 new construction homes for sale priced under $300,000 and 170 for sale over that price. For resale homes, there were 276 homes listed at more than $300,000, 189 homes below $300,000 and 42 listings under $200,000. u

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“I’ve been doing this for 39 years and by far this is the most interesting market we’ve had with some longevity,” Retter said. “It’s been consistently growing for going on three years now.” “Values have gone up quite a bit, but especially in certain areas and in certain price points, we’re seeing double digit appreciation, which is unheard of for our market,” Smart said. Smart routinely hosts firsttime homebuyers’ classes where most people are looking for homes under $200,000. “In that price point, in all five cities, totaled, there will be maybe 20 homes, meaning there aren’t enough homes to satisfy people in that class,” Smart said. It would be easy to say that injecting the market with new construction would alleviate pressure from resale homes, but Smart and Retter said it’s not that easy, primarily because the cost of lot prices is also going up, not to mention the cost of building. “The issue we have with new construction is not that there is scarcity of land, but the developable land is becoming harder to find within the cities; the location and land ends up controlling the price of the house,” Smart said. “To get homes down to that price, south of $300,000 becomes more problematic. An ordinary home lot in a subdivision could sell for $60,000. Now you’re looking at anywhere from $75,000 to $90,000, just because there are not as many lots ready to be built on,” said Jeff Losey, executive director of the Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities, or HBA. Data compiled by the HBA shows that 1,046 single-family residential building permits were issued through August 2018, compared to 972 in the same period last year.

Jeff Smart, president of the Tri-City Association of Realtors, said homebuyers may have to wait longer than they’d like to find a home they can afford in the Tri-City area’s competitive market. (Photo: Scott Butner Photography)

“There’s a lot of activity in Badger Mountain and Badger Mountain South in Richland, and in Southridge in Kennewick, just on the back side of Thompson Hill,” Losey said. Losey said one factor driving up prices for new construction is the cost of material and labor. “When the market crashed in 2008, employees left the building industry and didn’t come back. Over the last few years there hasn’t been enough construction workers. You have to pay more to keep the ones you have, and the ones in the work force are working sun up to sun down,” Losey said. Smart points to population growth and a steady job market. A July Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine named Richland one of the best places to retire and Smart says the magazine isn’t wrong. He calls it the Goldilocks effect: retirees from Seattle are looking to buy real estate and live out their golden years.

Sequim is too wet. Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona, are too hot; Bend, Oregon, is too cold; many come to find that the TriCities is just right. “Here you can see all four seasons, you have all the wine you can drink, there is low cost of energy, it’s very attractive for them,” Smart said. He added that although prices have gone up, Tri-City real estate is still affordable compared to bigger metropolitan areas like Seattle. “Everybody is waiting for the perfect time to buy the perfect house at the perfect price and they may not find it,” Smart warned. Smart is hopeful the market will flatten out in the next few years. “Things will level out a little bit with our appreciation rates, mainly because we’re going to see more homes come on the market,” Smart said. “I don’t think we’ll keep up the pace we’ve had in the last few years.” l

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Commercial real estate

The commercial real estate market is bullish as the area’s population continues to grow, according to Tri-City market experts. Benton and Franklin counties’ population grew by 2 percent compared with the previous year to 289,960 in 2018. (Photo: Scott Butner Photography)

Local businesses drive development BY LAURA KOSTAD

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espite quick turnover of limited commercial real estate inventory and an ongoing demand for construction services, the Tri-City commercial real estate market continues to boom. “There is definitely a steady volume of construction that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon,” said Scott Howard, Scott Howard executive director of the Tri-City Construction Council, the region’s plan center for commercial project bidding, serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho. 12 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

Charles Laird, managing broker and co-owner of Tippett Co., a Pasco-based, family-owned brokerage firm, said the market will “probably stay stressed. There’s a lot of demand for construction services all over the state.” Because prospective developers and those looking to expand their businesses face long lead times, “people are searching the inventory hard,” said Derrick Stricker, commercial broker at NAI Tri-Cities in Kennewick. In response, many brokers have noticed an uptick in the number of companies not only expanding their own footprint as they grow, but creating additional cash flow by including tenant space in their expansion plans. “Our businesses are the ones driving the development in the Tri-Cities, not those from out-

side,” Stricker said. Low interest rates have helped. “Businesses in the local economy are growing and being in the position where they either have to get capital to grow, merge or sell to larger firms and recapitalize and bring in more people to work for them,” Laird said. Laird pointed to a resurgence in office construction around the core business district of Kennewick as a good sign. “That means rents are going up and investors are looking to invest their capital. The retail side of it is doing really well,” he said. At the same time, commercial real estate valuations are higher than ever, according to Stricker, who said it’s a great market for retiring business owners looking to leave their industries.


“We’re a baby boomer market, trading out a lot of business leaders and property owners who are seeing an exit that includes property sale or business sale, and those numbers are higher than in the past,” he said. On the flip side, lease rates also are going up as property values climb. “Another thing driving it is the triple net charges,” said Gayle Stack, broker/owner at Kennewick-based EverStar Realty. Triple net, or NNN, refers to an agreement where the tenant agrees to pay all real estate taxes, building insurance and maintenance. “Property taxes have pretty much risen all over Franklin and Benton counties over the past couple years,” she said. “The overall lease rate for a commercial tenant has increased based on more of those economic factors rather than just supply and

demand. “There’s still a good supply of lease space though, and I believe there’s still enough available to meet the needs of tenants out searching. There’s still quite a lot of commercial land out there that can be developed.” Laird said he doesn’t see it slowing in the next five years. “The only thing that might slow it down is we’re due for a hike in interest rates,” he said. In the meantime, areas such as Pasco’s Road 68 and Road 100, Richland’s Queensgate Drive, and Kennewick’s Southridge will see continued growth, experts said. Areas such as Kennewick’s Vista Field, Columbia Center Boulevard and the downtown core, as well as Richland’s George Washington Way corridor are poised for new retail development in the coming years. Though new retail and office space continues to open up

throughout the Tri-Cities, supply in the industrial commercial real estate sector has continued to lag behind demand, making it some of the most highly sought after and hard to come by property in the area. Stricker provided the example of West Brinkley Road in Kennewick’s Southridge area, where in the course of 24 months, all available industrial lots were fully absorbed and built on, primarily by local business owners. “Industrial space has always been scarce in the Tri-Cities. It seems to be one of the last things a developer will build. I don’t know if there’s a perception where the dollars seem bigger to a developer; it may come down to economics too, where one can get a higher price per square foot on retail,” Stack said. But bigger commercial development projects aren’t as common. u

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With Trios Health stabilized by its sale to Tennessee-based RCCH Health Care Partners and so many developments underway or due to begin in the coming months, Tri-City brokers are curious to see what new commercial real estate opportunities arise. “A lot of it’s going to depend on the cost of financing and what interest rates do,” Stack said. “The market is pinched in this positive commotion of commerce,” Stricker said. “I believe we’re a bullish market though, and I’m very positive.” Though Stricker added that what the Tri-Cities will look like in the future, really lies in the answer to this question: “How can we create that dynamic kind of market, where not just (commercial real estate) pros are being involved, but others are playing a role in community development?” l

MEDICAL

able land beyond it that could potentially be acquired and zoned industrial to meet demand. “To be competitive as a region, we need more focus and support on obtaining that land so that the city can develop it for industrial needs,” Stricker said. “It would be nice to get a few large industrial users into the area; it helps increase our tax base,” Laird said, adding that this is especially important given TriCities’ continued residential growth. “It’s just going to take a developer to see the possibilities and to build some construction that serves those needs,” Stack said. Stricker said he expects to see industrial sites such as those the Port of Pasco owns, as well as those in Richland’s Horn Rapids Business Park and along Reata Road in Kennewick, continue to be targeted for development.

INDUSTRIAL

COMMERCIAL

“There’s been a lot of what we’d call small- and medium-size industrial development, but we’re probably lacking in the larger, like the AutoZone distribution center and manufacturing and certain things like that,” Laird said. AutoZone built a 443,819square-foot distribution center and truck maintenance yard, valued at $50 million, near Pasco’s King City Truck Stop. It opened in June 2017. Though east Pasco and north Richland offer plenty of opportunity for industrial land use, Kennewick’s offerings have remained limited, due in part to a small amount of industrialzoned land availability, Stricker said. Stricker explained that the other reason has to do with missed opportunities involving Kennewick’s southern urban growth area boundary and avail-

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City of Kennewick TRI-CU Credit Union is building an 8,300-square-foot building at 3213 W. 19th Ave. in Kennewick. (Photo: Scott Butner Photography)

Southridge shows no signs of slowing BY ELSIE PUIG

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ommercial and residential growth remains strong in Kennewick, especially in the Southridge area, but city officials say its other areas also are seeing their fair share of activity. “The growth in Kennewick has been pretty strong in the last few years,” said Wes Romine, development services manager for the city of Kennewick. Commercial development is expected to surge with the addition of new schools, multi-tenant commercial buildings and elder care facilities — like a 3,600-square-foot, 56-bed memory care center on 24th Avenue off Union Street. Commercial projects under construction include the 10-screen Fairchild Movie Theatre next to the Walmart store in Kennewick’s Canyon Lakes

neighborhood on the 2700 block of South Quillan Street — valued at $6.7 million. The movie theater should be finished toward the end of 2018 or early 2019. There’s also the new Chuck E. Cheese restaurant at 6340 W. Rio Grande Ave. near North Kellogg Street in Kennewick, which opened in September. Other big projects under development include a four-story, 93-unit Comfort Suites at Plaza Way in Southridge, across from Trios Health, valued at $6.5 million, and a 4,500-square-foot STCU credit union branch at Highway 395 and Hildebrand Road, valued at $1.4 million. TRI-CU Credit Union, formerly Tri-Cities Community Federal Credit Union, also is under construction at 3213 W. 19th Ave. The building is 8,300 square feet and valued at $1.8 million. A new bar and grill restaurant is coming to Kennewick: the

6,000-square-foot Silos Bar and Grill, being built on Clearwater Avenue near Ridgeline Drive behind Badger Canyon Coffee, is valued at $750,000. The city of Kennewick is currently seeking bids for the Ridgeline Drive-Highway 395 interchange, which is needed to handle increased traffic volume and steep highway grade at the intersection that doesn’t currently have a traffic light. Total residential permit revenue year-to-date for 2018 is about $1.2 million, compared to 2017’s year-to-date total of $771,295, an increase of 55 percent. New commercial permits issued from January to August 2018 totaled 58, valued at $47 million, up from 26 valued at $28 million issued during the same time period in 2017. In 2017, the city added 442,000 square feet of retail, office and manufacturing space. u

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“So far (in 2018) we’ve added 400,000 square feet,” said Miles Thomas, economic development manager for the city of Kennewick. Thomas is looking forward to the development of a multi-story mixed-use building that will house retail, office and apartment spaces in historic downtown Kennewick. The new building will replace the former site of Leo’s Catering at 20 N. Auburn St. “This will signal a big boon for downtown. It’s quite an opportunity,” Thomas said. “This is the most recent new construction in historic downtown. Over the past few years, we’ve seen renovation of existing projects, but this is by far the most substantial demolition and new construction to occur in downtown in the last few years.” For Thomas, this signals a renewed interest in downtown Kennewick, where the Port of Kennewick is developing Columbia Gardens Wine and Artisan Village. The second phase of the wine village is already underway and will include a food truck plaza with room for up to six food vendors and a 2,500-square-foot wine tasting room. Bartholomew Winery and Palencia Wine Co. opened there in fall 2017. “We have done a lot to encourage new development in the downtown area. We want businesses to see it as advantageous and as a future growth sector,” Thomas said. One effort to entice businesses is the development of a StrEatery program, which creates street-side outdoor dining spaces at local downtown restaurants. The first one to be built will be at Rockabilly Roasting. Kennewick’s residential developments are growing as well.

A four-story, 93-unit Comfort Suites on Plaza Way is under construction across from Trios Health in Kennewick. The project is valued at $6.5 million. (Photo: Scott Butner Photography)

The 414-unit SouthCliffe community continues to expand, followed closely by Apple Valley, which is nearly a quarter complete. Both are just off the newly opened Bob Olson Parkway. New single-family residential permits in Kennewick issued through August of 2018 totaled 234 and were valued at $74 million, which represents a 72 percent increase from the same period in 2017. The new Nueva Vista apartment complex at Union Street and Clearwater Avenue offers affordable housing for low-income families and the homeless. The second phase will add 50 units in two new buildings, each valued at nearly $2 million. The city’s express permitting program for commercial tenant improvement and new singlefamily residence projects that meet pre-specified qualifications was established in 2015. It allows contractors and commercial property owners with buildings under 12,000 square feet to quickly apply for and receive permission for tenant improvement

projects — usually within two to three days. In 2016, the city extended the program, which can grant a permit in 48 hours, to include new single-family homes. The city charges a convenience fee of 30 percent of the permit fee, or $400 — whichever is greater — for commercial projects, and 20 percent of the permit fee for residential projects. In July 2017, the city added residential alterations to the program, and in February 2018 the program was extended to include new duplex residential permits. “The residential express permitting process has been very successful,” said Dan Wilson, express permitting program manager for the city. The city has issued more than 450 express permits for new single-family homes and nearly 300 permits for commercial tenant improvements since it started, and is determining whether to explore the feasibility of opening the express permitting process to new commercial construction. l

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City of Richland Big projects underway in central district BY ROBIN WOJTANIK

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he opening of the Queensgate Drive roundabouts allowed Richland to wrap up one of its major capital projects in 2018, while shifting focus for the next six months on building its new City Hall. The central district is a part of town receiving more attention from the city after a surge of growth in south Richland and the Queensgate area. Richland’s population grew to 55,320 people in 2018, up 2 percent from the pervious year. “A lot of our focus has shifted to central Richland,” said N. Zach Ratkai, the city’s former economic development manager who now works for the city of Pasco. The new $18.5 million Richland City Hall is expected to be completed by spring 2019. It will be an anchor of future improvements to Swift Boulevard that are also on the way. The new building at 625 Swift Blvd. is adjacent to the current City Hall, with an entrance on Swift from a corner lot that intersects Jadwin Avenue. Richland is combining three facilities into one as part of what the city calls a “one-stop shop” that will “increase convenience for residents.” The building will house staff from City Hall, the administration annex and the development services department. Work began on a new facility 20 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

a year ago and the current City Hall, at 505 Swift Blvd., is set for demolition and subsequent site work. This will leave 1.5 acres at Swift and George Washington Way, a highly-visible location, ripe for commercial development. “We hope to build on an urbanization of that corner,” Ratkai said. Richland’s economic development staff is expected to market the corner property as mixeduse space, available for retail. The private property across the street at 502 Swift Blvd., once home to Dupus Boomer’s restaurant, is vacant and seeking a new tenant. The restaurant closed suddenly just before the end of 2017. The property is owned by Markel Properties/ Washington Securities and Investment Corp. The company says there are “no current plans in the works” to fill the space. Ratkai said the city has been in contact with Markel. “Our doors are open to assist (them) and we are willing to help with marketing,” he said. Prior to launching the new City Hall, Richland hopes to finish improvements to Swift Boulevard that include widening sidewalks, adding bike lanes, onstreet parking and decorative lighting. “These street improvements will dress it up to tie in the anchors of downtown, from the Kadlec tower to recreation areas like Howard Amon Park,” Ratkai said.


Above: The highest-valued commercial project in Richland is a city project: the $18.5 million City Hall at 625 Swift Blvd., targeted for completion in spring 2019. Left: After years of planning and efforts to secure funding, construction on the Duportail Bridge got underway in early 2018, with a planned finish date of 2020. (Photos: Scott Butner Photography)

The area of focus includes Swift Boulevard between Long Avenue in the west, near Richland High School, and George Washington Way on the east, where the current City Hall has been since 1958. This could include an eventual relocation of Fire Station 71 at 1000 George Washington Way. Hollie Logan, marketing and communications manager for the city of Richland, said the fire station is not on the same timeline as the replacement of City Hall. “It is part of the redevelopment efforts the city would like to see occur over the next three to five years,” she said. “What will drive the relocation will be the continued redevelopment of the Swift Boulevard corridor. At some point, the economics will suggest relocating for further economic development.” The goal of the $1.8 million Swift corridor improvement project is to more readily connect Richland’s downtown core with

the Columbia River. “Richland’s coming around from the place where you work, to the place where you live and play in the urban corridor,” Ratkai said. This includes updates to the city’s central business district, including The Parkway. This area sitting just west of George Washington Way has slowly transformed from a sleepy strip of office space to a vibrant center that’s home to numerous new eateries. “The Parkway has stood the test of time and been able to transition to meet the market’s needs,” Ratkai said. “It’s become the focal point for an urban lifestyle and urban recreation.” Current projects in The Parkway include an expansion of Frost Me Sweet, the debut of Miss Tamale restaurant and the opening of the second Foodies Brick and Mortar, called Foodies too. “This is clearly an indication of growing consumer demand driven

by the revitalization of Richland’s downtown core,” said David Lippes, principal of Boost Builds, the company behind some of the prominent development within the central business district. Boost Builds rehabbed the aging building where Fuse, a corworking community, is housed in The Parkway, and is a key player in the effort to transform the spot known as “the pit” on George Washington Way into a four-story apartment building with retail space. Lippes said the pit is still “set to go this fall, just waiting on (Housing and Urban Development) for final financing.” Lippes and business partner John Crook also intend to redevelop 1100 and 1200 Jadwin Ave., which they bought. The buildings were once occupied by Fluor Corp. and total more than 150,000 square feet on nearly 10 acres. u

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 21


The developers hope to transform the larger building, at 1200 Jadwin Ave., into a loft-style, multi-family dwelling. It needs more attention and updating than the smaller building at 1100 Jadwin, which is about two-thirds occupied by commercial tenants. Ratkai said the city is working behind the scenes with Lippes and Crook on the project. Richland’s central business district will eventually be linked to Queensgate through the Duportail Bridge. With investments totaling $37 million, the project had a groundbreaking in late February 2018. Since then, the city said work is proceeding as planned. The bridge is on schedule to open in summer 2020, relieving congestion in spots like the bypass highway and Wellsian Way, and providing improved access between central Richland and the Queensgate area. More growth could come to

22 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

Queensgate as the state Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, works with the city of Richland to rezone property north of Vintner Square on Kennedy Road. DNR hopes the six- to ninemonth process will result in 54 acres re-zoned for commercial use and still be consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan. This acreage would be leased for revenue that goes into the state’s Common School Trust and allow for additional development north of the Target shopping complex. “We also have been in discussions with Richland School District about possibly transferring a 40-acre parcel of the property to the district,” said Bob Redling, communications and outreach officer for DNR. “If that comes about, that 40 acres would be transferred in return for its appraised value. We expect to put the remainder of 334 acres up for

public auction at a future date.” The Queensgate area includes one of the three highest-valued commercial construction projects underway in the city of Richland. The $5.3 million project at 3200 Duportail St. will be home to Smile Surfers pediatric dentistry office and Tri-City Orthodontics, while allowing tenant space for additional use. The $18.5 million City Hall holds the highest-valued project presently being built in Richland, followed by the $8.5 million student housing project underway at Washington State University TriCities. The city of Richland issued 78 commercial building permits between January and June 2018, which includes new construction, remodels or improvements and expansions. For the same time period, Richland issued 144 permits for single-family dwellings. Most of


those permits now cost more, thanks to an increase in road impact fees tied to single-family home construction. Effective Aug. 1, 2018, the city began adding up to $2,229 onto some building permits for singlefamily homes to offset the burden of infrastructure support needed for new developments. The highest priced fees are for homes built in the Badger Mountain South area, off Dallas Road. Richland’s northernmost boundaries also are seeing an uptick in attention from potential employers that need acreage. “There’s been a lot of interest in Horn Rapids Business Park,” Ratkai said. “People are also looking at big swaths of land but they’re all off the record. The inquiries are secretive and not on paper. So there’s a lot of nibbling around the edges. We plan to market it hard to get solid, highpaying manufacturing jobs there. We want to diversify the economy and not rely solely on Hanford/ PNNL (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory).” A 30,000-square-foot expansion is also planned for Preferred Freezer Services at 2800 Polar Way, which is already the largest freezer in North America. The expansion would serve Lamb Weston, which built a $200 million Richland addition in 2017 to add two million more pounds of frozen french fries daily to the worldwide market. A plan to add a 40,000-squarefoot facility in Horn Rapids to serve the National Guard is still in need of funding. The National Guard bought 40 acres in Richland with plans to put an Army infantry Stryker company on the space. Ratkai said the effort to secure government funding has been pushed to 2020 with the intention of starting work in 2022. l

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City of Pasco

Construction is a common sight between Road 100 and Road 68 in Pasco. The recently built Self-Storage at Chapel Hill at 615 Chapel Hill Blvd. includes 599 storage units and a retail strip mall with 8,000 square feet of space for lease. The project totaled $7.2 million. (Photo: G2 Construction)

Growth spurs economic development BY ARIELLE DREHER

T

he city of Pasco is running out of room. So much so that the city has asked Franklin County to expand by more than 4,800 acres north of the current city limits. The growth in population is fueling large home developments as well as new school construction in the city. Pasco, population 73,590, also is preparing for population growth of between 20,000 and 92,000 people in the next 20 years, according to a range of low to high population projections. As Rick White, community and economic development director at the city, sees it, even if that number is off by 20 percent, the city will still need to expand. “We got our 20-year population forecast, and we have to plan for an additional 50,000 by the year 2038, so our 20-year forecast is roughly 121,000 people. That’s (equal to) the city of Richland,” White said. “It’s a real problem that has significant impacts — I

mean significant. First of all, just raw numbers, where do you put everybody for starters? And secondly, how do you fund the infrastructure package that you need to serve them?” Pasco’s residential building permits for single-family homes are slightly up this year, with 353 permits issued through August 2018, valued at about $94 million, compared with 343 single-family dwelling unit permits valued at about $90 million over the same period in 2017. There are several housing development plans underway to help accommodate the projected growth. Construction is ongoing off Road 68, where developers are building about 700 houses on land previously owned by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. White estimates that the homes will be close to completion by summer’s end in 2019. Pasco planners also hope to expand housing near the Road 100 exit, the first exit in the city nearest to Richland off Interstate

182, north of the interstate at Broadmoor Boulevard. Currently, besides some development and a farm along the river, the area is home to a gravel pit and predominantly desert-scape. White said this is due to sewage challenges: there is no workable sewage system in the area. The city is working to change that, however. “Right now, the city is designing and then this winter we’ll construct the main sewer truck line that goes along the river to get to the sewage plant,” White said. “We’re going to take the sewer at the river east of the bridge north under the freeway to a point on Harris Road, and that will allow the development community to extend east, west and north.” White envisions a mixed residential area off Broadmoor, including between 4,000 and 5,000 units with the intention to increase density there, as well as some commercial development that would be accessible to these new residents by foot. “I think there’s a way to come up with something nice and u

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 25


allow people to maybe walk to get a drink after dinner or a hamburger or a gallon of milk without having to get in their car and getting on Road 100 to do it,” White said. The value of commercial permits in Pasco so far in 2018 is down slightly from this time last year, but White is not concerned. In fact, the city of Pasco’s permitting and development numbers have remained relatively consistent the past 18 years. As of August, the city issued the most permits since 2001. So far this year, one the largest commercial projects in the city is the Pasco School District’s new $27.3 million elementary school on Road 84. The Pasco City Council recently approved a local improvement district to spur development along Chapel Hill Boulevard, which the city plans to extend and connect from Road 68 to Road 84. White estimates it is a

education

$10 million project. “It’s at roughly 20 percent to 30 percent designed now, so I don’t know when it will be completely designed, but construction should start on that relatively quickly,” he said. The Pasco School District has already annexed land north of Burns Road where the planned development around Broadmoor Boulevard will be located, including plans for new elementary, middle and high schools. So far in 2018, Pasco’s industrial sector has surged. This is, in part, due to the thriving agricultural and food industries as well as other projects in the city. The city of Pasco has benefited greatly off of what White calls a “gamble,” in the 1990s when the city bought 14 farm circles. The city leases the land to farmers who then supply their crops to food processors in the area. When the city bought the land,

it also began to pump water used there outside of the city’s sewage system, sending it far north and treating it according to what was needed. This irrigation source is used on those farm circles, and the program is attractive to food processors looking to relocate or expand in the city. “It dramatically lowers the cost for the processors, and it keeps that stream of wastewater out of the sanitary sewer system, which keeps the rates low for people like me who live here,” White said. White said an irrigation equipment manufacturer based on the East Coast is considering Pasco as its West Coast location due, in part, to the program. Food processors like Simplot Foods are expanding their facilities, too. Simplot altered its fire pump room and mechanical systems in March 2018 — improvements valued at more than $3.2 million. u

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Home development on former state-owned land off Road 68 is expected to house more than 700 families by the time construction wraps up, which could be as early as fall 2019. (Photo: Scott Butner Photography)

The Port of Pasco, similarly, has several large industrial development projects in the mix. Gary Ballew, director of economic development at the port, said the port is working with local hotelier Vijay Patel to build a Courtyard by Marriot near the Tri-Cities Airport on port property. The project is valued at $10 million. In June 2018, the city granted the Port of Pasco a permit to build a new hangar to house a research plane for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The hangar opened in early September. “We are really interested in industrial growth and in the community identifying land for industrial development,” Ballew said. The airport itself has witnessed and adapted to the city

and the region’s growth in recent years and plans to do more. Buck Taft, the airport director, said the airport is working on taxiway improvements and has experience dealing with major growth quickly. After the airport’s expansion was complete in 2017, Taft said it can handle even more growth. “We can expand every section of the terminal as needed, so it’s a lot easier to do,” he said. As more people continue to move to Pasco, White said he expects growth in the residential and commercial sectors to go hand-in-hand. He said 2019 should be about the same as recent years, as the city has posted consistent and incremental growth in all sectors dating back to 2001, except for occasional spikes or dips due to the 2008 recession. In the mean-

time, like the rest of the region, Pasco will need to begin to look at capacity. White believes the whole Tri-City area will have to address the same question: “How long can this region sustain the kind of growth it’s seeing? And I don’t know the answer, other than we are starting to see issues now with affordability in housing,” he said. Farmland and houses are snapped up instantly, and Pasco’s foreclosure payment program is dry because there are no foreclosed homes that people are trying to get rid of. White said he expects the industrial development sector to continue to grow, and in the meantime, the city seeks to expand its own limits to make room for more people. l

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 29


City of West Richland A yet-to-be-named elementary school is under construction at 2100 Sunshine Ave. in West Richland to support 600 students. It’s part of the “school-driven” commercial growth seen in the city, which has grown 4.5 percent year over year to 15,320 residents in 2018. (Photo: Richland School District)

‘Bedroom community’ expands west BY ROBIN WOJTANIK

A

t 15,320 citizens strong, West Richland is looking to its undeveloped western end of town as the focus for future growth. “The center of town is pretty much built out,” said Aaron Lambert, West Richland’s community development director. What feels like the center of town for West Richland tends to be the area near Yoke’s Fresh Market at 1401 Bombing Range Road. But future development will result in more homes and commercial projects in the western part of town, south of North Harrington Road, north of Ruppert Road and terminating at the Yakima River. West Richland has infrastructure plans to support future growth. “Keene Road will extend out to Twin Bridges Road, so you have a direct connection to the jobs in

32 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

the Hanford area,” Lambert said. “So with our growth that direction, westerly, we put the zoning in place to promote commercial, and also acknowledge residential growth, as well, since it really drives our community. We have a lot of capacity to grow, and our latest comprehensive plan, planned for 2037, we’re expected to accommodate 23,000 people, but we always seem to eclipse the current projections.” West Richland wants to encourage commercial growth to allow more retail within the city. “A lot of shopping occurs before (residents) come home, so that’s something we’re working on trying to boost,” Lambert said. It’s long been known as a bedroom community. “Our residents really like the quality of life here,” he said. Calling single-family homes the city’s “core development,” Lambert said a lot of commercial growth in West Richland is

“school-driven.” This includes the construction of a 65,000-squarefoot elementary school underway at Belmont Boulevard and Bluewood Street, across Keene Road from the new $35 million Leona Libby Middle School, which opened in fall 2017. Still unnamed, the school is set to open in 2019 and accommodate up to 600 students. An overhaul of Tapteal Elementary is also part of a $99 million Richland School District bond passed by voters in 2017. West Richland students are served by the district, which bought 72 acres next to Libby to serve as the site of a future high school. Libby sits adjacent to the city’s new municipal services building at 3100 Belmont Blvd. It houses West Richland’s municipal services and finance offices, which moved from the city complex on Van Giesen Street, where the city’s police station and library


are located. The city of West Richland intends to sell the two vacated buildings. Lambert said the city is working with a surveyor to parcel out the properties with the goal of getting them on the market this fall. The Van Giesen core is prepped and ready for development, buoyed by the opening of the $2.2 million Yakima Gateway Riverfront Park project in fall 2017. A new city entrance sign welcomes visitors to West Richland, as well as added river access, paved trails and a new city park with parking. The improvements were made alongside zoning changes to west Van Giesen Street to allow for development or redevelopment, which had been made stagnant under the previous allowance. “We made it downtown mixed-use,” Lambert said. “So

we acknowledged the existing conditions. There’s a lot of housing, and under the old commercial zoning, they couldn’t rebuild. So if you demolish a home, you’d have to build commercial. And it just wasn’t working. People weren’t repairing their homes or replacing them. So we made downtown mixed use that allows for single-family, multi-family and commercial and then the hybrid, the mixed use.” The West Richland City Council also approved a 50 percent reduction to the required amount of parking on Van Giesen for commercial use as a way of accommodating the smaller lots that exist in the area. “They (council) put a lot of zoning in place that allows for flexibility to let the market drive it more than prescriptive zoning,” Lambert said. The city also is increasing the

size of water and sewer lines on Van Giesen. “We’re ready for future development or redevelopment. I think we’ve done all we can to promote it, but you really need the traffic counts to drive that now,” Lambert said. Interest in the former TriCity Raceway remains, despite the lack of an immediate plan for development of the site, owned by the Port of Kennewick but annexed by West Richland in 2015. The raceway is at Keene Road and Highway 224. “By bringing it into the urban growth boundary and into the city limits, that allows the property to be served by the city, but there’s a great deal of private land in the area. We do not want to compete with the private sector,” said Tana Bader Inglima, deputy chief executive officer for the Port of Kennewick. u

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 33


“The port expects development to occur on a longer-term schedule,” she said. That schedule is also dependent on certain “triggers,” like the planned completion of a new Interstate 82 interchange at Red Mountain that’s currently on hold. The interchange is the second phase of a Washington State Department of Transportation, or WSDOT, project that first began in late 2015 with the addition of a roundabout at the intersection of highways 224 and 225 to increase safety and relieve congestion. WSDOT would like to add a new interchange to improve connectivity to Highway 224 and provide direct access to parts of West Richland currently underserved. “It would offer a tremendous benefit to the community, and the citizens here, and future economic growth to support the former raceway and Red Mountain Center, at the intersection of Keene and Van Giesen,” Lambert said. But approval for the interchange has not yet come from the Federal Highway Administration, or FHA, said Alex Sanguino, project engineer for WSDOT. “There’s been issues trying to get them to give the OK,” he said. The holdups are not related to funding, but the FHA decides on the benefits of additional on/off ramps so they don’t defeat the purpose of a highway. West Richland is also waiting on potential development of a high-profile business, automaker SSC North America, which is headquartered in the city. West Richland used to own the 4.8 acres at 2943 Belmont Blvd., near Keene Road, but it was sold to the commercial arm of developer Ron Asmus for $1.15 mil-

lion in 2017. The company’s intent is to build a 40,000square-foot facility on the site, but financing setbacks have slowed plans. The shell building was approved by the city. “We’re just waiting for the applicant to pick up the permit,” Lambert said. Named the “best place to raise a family” in Washington state by WalletHub.com in 2017, West Richland is ready and willing to welcome more families to its community, whether on a small or large budget.

At this point, we’re poised for future growth and development.

- Aaron Lambert, community development director for West Richland

“Zoning changes were put in place last fall to support townhouse development. So it’s a great opportunity for a starter home,” Lambert said. “Generally, our market is 12,000-squarefoot lots and bigger. That seems to be what developers are platting and what the market will support. So as you start to run out of room, that’s where you find the infill because large lots are not attainable for a first-time homebuyer.” West Richland issued 42 single-family home permits between January and August 2018, compared to 84 in the same period in 2017. “We’re trending down on single-family homes, which is our core development. It’s not for lack of physical land area, though,” Lambert said. “We have the land to build, but the tenet

of the Growth Management Act is to build up before you sprawl because what it leads to is more efficient use of resources for infrastructure.” Building up, through the use of multi-family dwellings, has increased the number of these permits issued, from three in 2017 to 12 in 2018. Commercially, the city issued four permits between January and June 2018, the same amount as the previous year. “Commercial activity is not great, but that’s kind of reflective of the makeup of the city,” Lambert said. A number of public works projects are currently underway in West Richland, supporting and improving the current infrastructure. “We’ve got the whole town torn up,” joked Roscoe Slade, West Richland public works department director. This includes a multi-phase project on Bombing Range Road, a new reservoir at Grosscup Boulevard and Van Giesen, along with work at South 38th Avenue and Mount Adams Drive, as well as portions of Collins Road. Looking ahead to 2019, Lambert expects the city’s focus to narrow on selling or surplusing properties and acreage around the former municipal services building and its current campus. “At this point, we’re poised for future growth and development. The development requirements, I think, meet the market right now,” he said. The market also will drive future infrastructure growth, especially around Red Mountain. “We really expect Belmont and Keene to be a lot more active, and the traffic to keep increasing there,” he said. l

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 35


Port of Kennewick

The second phase of the Port of Kennewick’s Columbia Gardens Wine and Artisan Village is underway on Columbia Drive. It will feature a food truck plaza and a new tasting room building, scheduled for completion in 2019. (Photo: Port of Kennewick)

Progress continues on Columbia Gardens, Vista Field BY LAURA KOSTAD

T

he Port of Kennewick’s two biggest development projects aim to turn high-profile properties into thriving, multi-use areas that offer a sense of community. The port plans to seek bids by the end of 2018 for the first phase of the Vista Field redevelopment project, while the construction of infrastructure to support the second phase of Columbia Gardens Wine and Artisan Village is to be completed fall 2018. A municipal corporation serving taxpayers in Kennewick, Richland, West Richland, and portions of Benton City and unincorporated Benton County, the port expects to collect more

36 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

than $4 million in property taxes, at a rate of 33 cents per $1,000 of assessed property, in 2018. This supported a biennial 2017-18 total budget of $7.9 million and capital budget of $11.6 million.

Columbia Gardens

The Vista Field plans stem from successful ideas implemented at the port’s Columbia Gardens Wine and Artisan Village on Columbia Drive in Kennewick. Bartholomew Winery and Palencia Wine Co. opened there in fall 2017. Now the port wants to bring in food offerings. Swampy’s BBQ and Frost Me Sweet will be the first two food

truck tenants to lease space at the new food truck plaza. The plaza, along the Sacagawea Heritage Trail, features scenic views of Duffy’s Pond. Food truck spots are equipped with 50-amp electric pedestals and grey-water sewage dumps. They are served by an adjacent potable water hydrant, common area dumpster and grease-dump station to enable tenants to remain on-site longterm. In addition, a second 2,500-square-foot tasting room building will be completed in spring 2019. Cave B and Gordon Brothers wineries will open tasting rooms there in spring 2019, said Tana Bader Inglima, the port’s deputy chief executive officer.


Two electric vehicle charging stations and a safe pedestrian road crossing also are a part of the second phase. “We’re setting the table so we have the remaining 4.5 acres available for sale and or lease,” said Larry Peterson, director of planning and development for the port. He added that since Columbia Gardens began taking shape, the port has observed increased occupancy in neighboring commercial space, including the opening of Rustica Interior and ET Estate Sales’ move from the Uptown Shopping Center to Columbia Drive. “When the private sector starts making investments across the street, that’s an indication that the effort is yielding (results),” Peterson said. Bader Inglima said plans for Columbia Basin College’s culinary school are still moving forward for the third phase of the project, called The Willows, while the port continues to work with a neighboring landowner to complete the final portion of the Sacagawea Heritage Trail to make it continuous. Across the pond at Clover Island, the port is working with the Army Corp of Engineers on a continuation of the shoreline stabilization project, which began on the west shore of the island. By the end of 2018, the port hopes to know the extent of the work that will need to be completed.

Vista Field

The port owns 539 acres within its 485-square-mile district, including the 103-acre site of the former Vista Field airport, which is due to undergo redevelopment into an urban, mixed-use, pedestrian-focused area to serve as a “nucleus for art in the Tri-

Thomas Moak, president of the Port of Kennewick’s board of commissioners, left, and Larry Peterson, the port’s director of planning and development, pose with the plans for the Vista Field development at the site of the former Kennewick airport. The port plans to redevelop the 103-acre site into an urban, mixed-use, pedestrian-focused area. (Photo: Scott Butner Photography)

Cities,” Peterson said. The port has secured funding for phase 1-A of the project: a 15-year loan for $5 million through Cashmere Valley Bank. The port will target the middle 22 acres of Vista Field in the first phase, which will include infrastructure, a park with a cascading water feature that will parallel a road connecting Deschutes Avenue to Grandridge Boulevard, a parking lot that will use a portion of the original airport taxi-lanes, and a plaza to serve as the foundation for the site’s first retail development. Funding for phase 1-B, which will cover the conversion of existing hangars into port-managed retail or dining space, is still in the works. The port hopes to attract food trucks and pop-up retailers to this plaza, which will feature a small stage for public performances and dually serve as a launch pad for future businesses. As the land surrounding the

plaza is developed into permanent structures, Peterson said the food trucks and pop-up retail will move to the frontlines of new development with each successive phase. “It’s not just 1,100 new residences, it’s not just about the 700,000 new square feet of commercial space. It’s the place,” Peterson said. “Placemaking is what we’re after and the way you accomplish that is through conscientious decisions and design.” Placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to plan for public spaces that improve connections between people and the places they share. The majority of the Vista Field redevelopment will consist of private sector investment and conversion of available parcels. An estimated half-billion dollars of private investment is anticipated at full build-out, which could take about 20 years depending on market demand. l

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 37


Vista Arts Center

Dancers and musicians like Jackson Martin, from left, Kyung-Ah Park, Bruce Walker and Cecilia Roddy look forward to the day when the Vista Arts Center opens in Kennewick. The 800-seat performing arts center will be at the Port of Kennewick’s Vista Field development. (Photo: Scott Butner Photography)

Group envisions dedicated place for arts BY LAURA KOSTAD

A

23-year-old group has stepped into the spotlight to raise money to open the Tri-Cities’ first performing arts center at Vista Field. The group has long said that the Tri-Cities doesn’t have a suitable, designated performance space to hold symphonies, Broadway shows, plays and ballets. “The idea is that Vista Field will become an arts and entertainment district,” said Steve Wiley, board chairman for the task force. “We’re trying to create (a) vibrant hub of community activity. Another reason we’re passionate about the performing arts is that the performing arts connect people … we need more connection.” The Port of Kennewick and the Arts Center Task Force signed a letter of intent in 2017 so the arts nonprofit can buy 2.2 acres at the center of Vista Field for $10,000.

38 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

The task force has two years to raise the money. “We have a letter of support from 22 performing arts groups and four partner arts groups (and) letters of support from TRIDEC (Tri-City Development Council), Visit Tri-Cities, the chamber of commerce, and then the Port of Kennewick,” Wiley said. So far, the group has raised enough through community fundraising to pay for the conceptual design from Seattle-based LMN Architects, hire an executive director, conduct pre-capital campaign planning and maintain operations, said Renée Adams, the task force’s executive director. “Our next goal is to not only fund the final design itself, so that we have an accurate picture of what the final facility will contain and cost, but to begin the capital campaign itself,” said Adams, who estimates the cost of the center to be about $35 million.

Renée Adams

The building will feature a lobby, art gallery, community space and kitchen, in addition to an auditorium and backstage facili-

ties. The 800-seat Vista Arts Center will serve local, regional and smaller touring companies. Its footprint would be 30,000 square feet or bigger and include 200 or more parking spaces, according to the letter of intent. Wiley said the performing arts center won’t just be a center for art, but “for cultural enrichment, where one can see, for example, different ethnic groups. A place where all of that — indigenous art, community art, outside art — can all be seen and appreciated.”


“The arts are a gathering place for families and for people in their smaller communities,” Adams said. “We have almost 50 different groups across the spectrum of arts stakeholders.” Wiley said there’s work to do to get the rest of the community on board by “communicating the value of the performing arts … (so that) when we finally open the performing arts center, we’ll have an audience that will come in and support it, which is important for the long-term viability of the facility.”

We have almost 50 different groups across the spectrum of arts stakeholders.

- Renée Adams, executive director of the Arts Center Task Force

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Adams said participation in the arts fosters universal skills such as collaboration and creativity, which she said translates to “building up our youth and the skills in our community for innovation and business and ideas for the future.” Wiley said that Vista Field’s redevelopment hopefully will help attract young people to the area and anchors them here. Established in 1995, the task force began as an advocacy group supporting the establishment of a performing arts center in the TriCities, but when local entities failed to act, the group decided to commit to making its dream a reality and pay for it themselves. “We have an open door and are happy to talk, to meet, to hear people’s ideas and opinions,” Adams said. “We’re also looking for advocates in the community.” l

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 39


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Port of Pasco

Occupancy at the Port of Pasco’s Big Pasco Industrial Park has jumped from 52 percent to 82 percent with the signing of new tenants using the warehouse space to expand their businesses. (Photo: Shawna Dinh)

New development projects in works, on horizon BY LAURA KOSTAD

O

ver the past year, the Port of Pasco has been paving the way forward — in some cases, literally — on several new projects. Responsible for most of Franklin County, aside from the northeastern region, which is managed by the Port of Kahlotus, the Port of Pasco owns more than 3,000 acres and expects to collect $2.1 million in taxes in 2018 at a rate of about 28 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The port’s 2018 operating expense budget totals $9.7 million, with a capital budget of $22.7 million, which includes $16 million in grants and loans to support its projects. Supplementing its available capital, the port has been happy to observe the pay-off of incentive packages introduced two to three years ago to attract tenants to the large-scale warehousing opportunities available in the Big

Pasco Industrial Park. According to Mayra Reyna, the port’s director of properties, just in the intervening months since spring 2018, occupancy at Big Pasco has jumped from 52 percent to 82 percent with the signing of new tenants using the warehouse space to expand their businesses. They include Tri-City Delivery, a homegrown Pasco company that does local deliveries for Amazon and Office Max; Evans Enterprises, which does storage service repairs on electric motors, including generators and wind turbine seals; and Aromatics, a Basin City-based company that processes and stores herbs such as echinacea, mint and catnip for teas and other herbal products. “Big Pasco plays this role of being very flexible,” said Gary Ballew, director of economic development and marketing at the port. He explained how the port offers more flexible lease

lengths, such as month-tomonth. “That’s difficult to (find) anywhere else,” he said. “Sometimes those month-tomonths become long-term,” Reyna said. To help spur further interest in the Big Pasco warehouses, the port has pursued a $7.5 million grant with a $1.8 million match through the state Economic Development Administration to pay for a three-year project to rebuild roads and upgrade the stormwater infrastructure in the industrial park. In addition, the port also wants to re-side the warehouses and remove the World War II-era wooden docks and circa-1960s canopies. “They’re really looking more like a modern warehouse and that helps. (Companies) have to bring their clients to their warehouse and so how it looks is important to them,” Ballew said. Improvements to the Tri-Cities Airport also are underway. u

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 41


42 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business


The port’s director of airports, Buck Taft, said that the second phase of the east general aviation apron concrete-to-asphalt repavement project will wrap up in fall 2018, as the port looks ahead to a $10.5 million taxiway renovation project. Taft reported the port received grants to pay for the project, which will bring the airport’s taxiways into compliance with Federal Aviation Administration standards. Once the work is completed, 7,700-foot Taxiway A will run parallel to Runway 21R-3L. At press time, the airport’s new, fully automated baggage handling system was also almost ready to launch, pending final certification. “We’re hoping that before Thanksgiving everything will be certified and out the door for the Thanksgiving holiday,” Taft said. The airport’s current hybrid system requires more manpower. “Now it’s going to be a fullyautomated system. Less human interaction, less chance for error, less chance for injury and we’ll be able to screen a lot more bags per hour. It just reduces the potential of bags being left off flights … less chance of your bag missing a flight. Especially when people show up late — it will keep everything flowing,” Taft said. Around the airport, development has continued with an existing port tenant’s construction of a new 12,000-square-foot, divisible building for lease and a drive-thru coffee stand under construction at the entrance of the Airport Industrial Park. The newly-built Trucks and Auto Auctions at the Airport Business Center hosted its first auction in August 2018 and the port is working on the construction of a new aviation hangar to support the auction. And ground is expected to be broken in fall 2018 on a new

Brothers Jake and Josh Musser stand in front of the new Trucks & Auto Auctions at 3135 Rickenbacker Drive in the Port of Pasco’s Tri-Cities Airport Business Center. A new $10 million, four-story Courtyard by Marriott hotel is under construction in the center. (Photo: Scott Butner Photography)

$10 million, four-story Courtyard by Marriott hotel at the corner of Argent Road and North 20th Avenue. Progress also continues on a new hangar to house the larger plane that Battelle will use to continue its international facilitation of the Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program. A bid was recently accepted for the project, which is expected to take about a year to complete, with the new hangar potentially coming into use by late 2019 or early 2020. Supporters of a public market in the Tri-Cities should be glad to hear that the results of the initial scoping study were recently presented to elected officials at the port and city of Pasco and discussions concerning the next steps are underway. Ballew hopes that regardless of which location is chosen — either downtown Pasco near the farmers market or at the port’s Marine Terminal property near the cable bridge — perhaps there may be opportunities to adapt a similar model at the site not selected.

Ballew said the port also is working with Eaty Gourmet on an upscale “food market” concept to potentially be built on the remaining 55 acres the port owns at its Osprey Pointe development, along the south side of East Ainsworth Avenue. “It’s really a food-driven deal and it’s targeted toward wine tourism,” Ballew said. “It’s like a clustering of restaurants, similar to a food court in a mall, but instead … you have chef-driven restaurants and then interspersed in that would be actual market projects.” With its proximity to the Columbia River waterfront, Ballew said public access to the water likely would be improved by the addition of parking and other amenities associated with the food market. At present though, the idea is in the concept stage. “We gave them six months and said we won’t talk to anybody else about Osprey Pointe and we will give them an exclusive look at this to see if they can pull their team together and try to make this happen,” Ballew said. l

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 43


Port of Benton

Port to buy 71.5 acres of light industrial land in north Richland BY LAURA KOSTAD

T

he Port of Benton celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2018, but Stuart Dezember, the port’s director of finance, said the real celebration will be after the completion of several projects currently underway. Those include the completion of Chukar Cherries’ expansion and second phase of Vintner’s Village in Prosser, purchase of 71.5 acres in north Richland and the ribbon cutting for Richland Airport’s new archway in 2019. Benton County comprises the port’s jurisdiction, across which is spread several active port projects supported in part by the $2.4 million collected by the port in taxes per year at 40 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. It owns roughly 2,700 acres, a number that fluctuates with the acquisition and sale of property to private investors, which helps support new projects. The port manages a $13.4 million budget, with $7.3 million in the capital budget, the latter of which is a little higher than usual due to two buildings currently under construction in Prosser, population 6,125. One of the buildings is a $1.8 million, 12,000-square-foot expansion for longtime tenant, Chukar Cherries. A $100,000 grant from the Hanford Area Economic Investment Fund supported the project. The port has built several expansions for Chukar Cherries

over the course of their 30-year partnership, but this latest will provide additional manufacturing and production space, and include a second-floor mezzanine to house offices for Chukar’s distribution department. Chukar Cherries will continue to run its retail space, which is a tourist draw for the area. The second building is the $2.6 million, 9,000-square-foot Prosser Development Building, which is nearing completion and headlines the second phase of the Vintner’s Village development. The Prosser Economic Development Association will move into one of the spaces and a “well-known winery” is interested in moving to the corner space to open a restaurant with outdoor seating. Its name hasn’t been disclosed. A startup brewery is in the process of signing for the third space, while one bay remains available for lease, offering the tenant 2,500 square feet, plus a mezzanine level, that increases the size to 4,000 square feet. “We’re thinking about possibly building a very similar building in Richland somewhere, probably north Richland, because it is a great model,” said Scott Keller, the port’s executive director. Fourteen more lots are still available. “As always, we’re partners with the city of Prosser and Prosser Economic Development Association and Benton County to try to spur growth up in that section of our district,” Keller said.


LEFT AND ABOVE: The Port of Benton is overseeing a $1.8 million, 12,000-square-foot expansion for longtime tenant Chukar Cherries in Prosser. (Photos: Port of Benton)

More land in the north Richland area that’s zoned light industrial soon will be available with the port’s purchase of 71.5 acres of former government land, which was transferred with deed restrictions to the port back in 1995 through the Maritime Administration. The port hopes to complete the $3 million deal by spring 2019. It hopes that owning the land outright will attract mid- to larger-size companies that com-

plement the land’s surrounding neighbors in the Tri-Cities Research District. “That deed restriction was preventing local private sector investment. Every use, every lease agreement had to have approval from Washington, D.C., and Maritime,” said Diahann Howard, director of economic development and governmental affairs at the port. “So, we believe that this will open up the opportunity for activity to take

place that wants to be in and around the research district.” “There are a lot of people out there … who are a little leery of leased land,” Keller said. “We do have people interested. People who will make investments if they were able to own the land. In fact, we feel that we have enough interest in the land that probably once we purchase it, we can sell enough land to offset the purchase price. “That’s our goal.” u

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Also in the research district, two 40,000-square foot buildings on 7.5 acres of prime property between George Washington Way and University Boulevard are scheduled for redevelopment. With the help of a development group, the port seeks to break up the buildings into smaller, commercial and neighborhood research and development spaces to support the transition of north Richland into a place where people live, not just go to work. “We hope the redevelopment will start before the end of 2018,” Keller said. The port also continues to market 700 acres of property near Horn Rapids Road for large users seeking 150-plus-acre parcels, with a focus on attracting clean energy manufacturers and research and development. The port has been working on phased improvements to the Richland Airport entryway, which are aimed at enhancing and making it more noticeable to support the many corporate fliers and general aviation users who use the facility. In addition to new landscaping, signage and more, 15 to 20 new 3,000- to 5,000-square-foot hangars have gone in via private investment by airport users, who long-term lease the land. “They’re making a good contribution to the area. It’s good for them, good for us, good for the airport,” Keller said. Nearly 1,000 people had the opportunity to experience the improvements firsthand at the port’s inaugural Wings and Wheels plane and car show in August 2018. It featured about 150 cars, including military vehicles, motorcycles, hot rods, antique cars and several aircraft. Benton City, population 3,405, also has seen some growth, thanks to port projects.


The city’s first Subway restaurant opened over the summer in an older building the port redeveloped and a similar project involving a 2,000-square foot building in downtown Benton City on Ninth Street is underway. On the recreation side, improvements to Crow Butte Park near Paterson continue as the port embarks on a new master plan with the help of the state Recreation and Conservation Office, which provided a $210,000 planning grant. An expansion of the existing RV park campground, plus 20 new RV sites around the marina will put boaters closer to the water so they can keep an eye on their vessels while they park their RVs at the site, which will include extra space for boat trailer parking. “Use has continued to be super strong,” Keller said. “It’s become a very high-demand

A 9,000-square-foot building, valued at $2.6 million, is nearing completion as part of the second phase of the Vintner’s Village development in Prosser. (Photo: Port of Benton)

park for that area and for the whole state.” Progress continues on the USS Triton Submarine Memorial Park, a part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park tour route. The port has applied for a state Heritage Grant to fund a $1 million small museum facility there. “It’s a key asset from a tourism perspective,” Howard said. She said the museum will be

“dedicated to the USS Triton, because we have other artifacts that came from the Triton that we need to display.” The facility will serve the dual purpose of providing access to public restrooms at the north end of the 20-mile-long riverfront trail, which begins at the park. The port expects to receive a decision on the grant application by spring 2019. l

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 47


K-12 education

The Kennewick School District is working on the second phase of construction at Amistad Elementary School at 930 W. Fourth Ave. The $18 million project features a detached addition with 22 classrooms, gym and offices. (Photo: Kennewick School District)

More students require more schools BY JEFF MORROW

T

he Tri-Cities’ three public school districts continue to grow. And because of that, so do their capital projects. Whether it’s new buildings, schools or facilities, the Kennewick, Pasco and Richland school districts have been busy completing projects from recently passed school bonds — and planning for future growth. Some districts already are planning new bond measures to keep up with ongoing student enrollment growth. Here’s a look at each of the three districts:

Kennewick School District

Kennewick School District’s student population continues to increase. Student enrollment on Sept. 5, 2018, totaled 19,022, or 370 more

students than recorded in October 2017. The October count is the official state count for the year, said Robyn Chastain, district spokeswoman. The state Office Superintendent of Public Instruction projects the district will have 20,983 students, or an estimated 400 more each year, by 2022. The district has already announced there will be a new bond measure before voters on Feb. 12, 2019. “There is not a firm number yet on the bond amount,” Chastain said. The district has a capital facilities plan in place that “waits for enrollment numbers to fully support the addition of a new school facility.” That helps in maximizing state assistance dollars. So the district will use portable buildings as much as it can

until then. Amistad Elementary, for instance, has 12 portables. The highlights for the proposed bond will cover the replacement of Kennewick High, a remodel of the existing Art Fuller auditorium and the Lions Den gym; adding 12 classrooms each and enhancing the athletic facilities for both Kamiakin and Southridge high schools; replacing the current Amistad Elementary; replacing or remodeling Ridge View Elementary; and building an 18th elementary school. The district has completed all five of the construction projects included in the 2015 bond that totaled $89.5 million, Chastain said. Those projects included rebuilding Desert Middle School; building Sage Crest Elementary; building Chinook Middle School; replacing Westgate Elementary; and opening Amon Creek Elementary. u

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Pasco School District is building its 16th elementary school at the intersection of Road 84 and Massey Drive. The 72,000-square-foot building will open in fall 2019. (Photos: Scott Butner Photography)

Additional projects were added to the project scope, thanks to a state $51.1 million K-3 class size reduction grant in 2016. They included Amon Creek Elementary (a $23.5 million bond-and-grant project), the dual language Fuerza Elementary ($21.6 million), and the Amistad addition ($18 million). Current projects include the Keewaydin Discovery Center addition, which opens in November 2018; the Mid-Columbia Partnership, opening in January 2019; the new Legacy High School, opening in spring 2019; and the Amistad Elementary addition, to be completed by August 2019. Work on the new Kennewick High design should be finalized, and cost estimates should be done by October 2018. Kennewick High was built in 1951, and then remodeled in both 1981 and 1991. The district owns 572 acres of land, with schools on 85 percent of that land. The district is pursuing additional land for more school sites. Kennewick High and Amistad are both eligible for state matching funds.

Estimates for the new Kennewick High are $105 million. Amistad, built in 1992, will be replaced and connected to the addition under construction now. This project is estimated to cost $19 million. The Kennewick High completion is tentatively planned for August 2021, pending bond approval. The Kamiakin and Southridge additions and athletic enhancements, with a timeline of 2020-21, are expected to cost $5 million each, while the Ridge View ($24 million) and elementary school No. 18 ($26 million) projects should span 2021-24. The district’s plan also calls for eight more renovations or new builds on middle schools and elementary schools between 2025 and 2029, with project costs ranging from $28 million to $45 million. These proposed bond projects are pending school board approval.

Pasco School District

Pasco voters approved a $99.5 million bond measure in

November 2017 that pays for six projects — elementary schools Nos. 16 and 17; replacing and expanding Stevens Middle School; adding a fourth middle school; safety and health improvements to school sites; and more and better transportation and maintenance facilities. Total project costs are $149 million. The state will match $44.5 million; $3 million for the Stevens site improvement was included in the 2013 bond; and $2 million will be kicked in from district impact fees, collected from new construction projects. That reduces the total amount to $99.5 million. Like the other school districts, Pasco’s enrollment is growing. District spokesman Shane Edinger said Pasco’s 2018-19 student enrollment reached 18,000 after the Labor Day holiday. “This is an overall increase of 168 students, or 0.94 percent over last year’s day-five count,” he said. The breakdown has 10,081 students in kindergarten through sixth grade; 2,831 seventh- and eighth-graders; and 5,088 students in ninth- through 12th-graders. u

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 51


The biggest jump was in seventh and eighth grades, where there are 161 more students than a year ago. Randy Nunamaker, the district’s executive director of capital programs, said the district keeps a close watch on student enrollment. “The state provides projections out five years,” he said. “But we also get multiple projections from private firms. We analyze both. It gives us a clearer perspective and projections.” Nunamaker said elementary No. 16 is under construction and will be ready in time for the 2019-20 school year. “It’ll be ready by August of 2019,” Nunamaker said. “It’s out on Road 84, north of Chiawana. Right now the schedule is we’re going out to bid for three other projects.” That would be elementary school No. 17, off Burns Road, between Road 90 and Broadmoor Boulevard; middle school No. 4 (on the same site of elementary No. 17); and the replacement of Stevens Middle School. Nunamaker said both elementary schools should handle 800 students each. “Elementary school No. 17 will be ready in August of 2020, and middle school No. 4 should be ready by August of 2021,” Nunamaker said. Stevens was built in 1960. The plan is to build the new Stevens on site as students attend in the old Stevens. “The plan is to move into the new building in January of 2021,” Nunamaker said. “We’ll demolish the old Stevens.” Then the district will complete the athletic fields. “John Morgan (former Pasco High and district administrator) is working for us as project man52 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

ager,” said Nunamaker. “He’ll be on the project. He’ll do equipment orders, athletic equipment for fields. It’s a small site, but we’re trying to get an actual track put in with a football field. I’m excited for the community there.” Other projects included in the 2017 bond were security enhancements around the schools, and maintenance and transportation. “We’re adding two maintenance bays,” Nunamaker said. “We’ve had just two since 1985. And we have 140 buses. The operations side has grown right along with our schools. We have to get kids to school safely.” The 2017 bond also adds in $2 million for land acquisitions for future school sites. “Pasco is projected to grow by 50,000 over the next 20 years,” Nunamaker said. “We have a great partner with the city to work with us.” Nunamaker said the city gives the school district a heads up when plats of land are being discussed for new neighborhoods. “When we see larger developments taking place, it tells us where we need to go start looking for property,” Nunamaker said. “Right now, we’re preparing property for a potential new high school site. We’re always looking for opportunities to buy land.” It’s Nunamaker’s job to look down the road. “We’re always looking five, 10, 20 years down the line,” he said. “I’d say we’re looking at another bond in the next five years. We’ve got groups looking now. We’re meeting with community builders (parents, staff, community members).” So when schools run out of room, there will be more schools. “People are coming,” said Nunamaker. “We just need to be prepared to take their kids in.”

Richland School District

In February 2017, Richland School District voters approved a $99 million bond issue to replace some schools, build new ones and improve athletic facilities. The estimated total project cost is $141 million, and the district expects to receive $42 million in state assistance funds. Like Kennewick and Pasco, the Richland School District is seeing rising enrollment numbers with 13,712 students. “Enrollment is projected to increase by 200 to 300 students per year,” said Ty Beaver, spokesman for the Richland School District. Richland opened the renovated Jefferson Elementary on George Washington Way in August 2018. “Jefferson was the last project completed from the 2013 bond,” said Richard Krasner, Richland School District’s executive director of support services. The 2017 bond will keep Krasner and his staff busy for the next five years. “We usually have two or three projects going at the same time,” he said. The projects include replacing Badger Mountain and Tapteal elementary schools. “We’re in the design protocol right now,” Krasner said. “In June of 2019, we’ll start construction on Tapteal. It will open in August of 2020.” A new elementary school is under construction on Belmont Boulevard in West Richland, which is within Richland School District boundaries. Krasner said that school will open in August 2019 to serve Badger Mountain and Tapteal students, as the district will shuffle them around while their schools are renovated. “But by August of 2021 this school will have full attendance,” he said.


The new Tapteal Elementary School in West Richland will be 65,000 square feet and built in the same location as the existing school. This means Tapteal students will spend a year at elementary school No. 11, currently under construction off Keene Road in West Richland, for the 2019-20 school year. (Photo: Richland School District)

Another new elementary school — No. 12 — will be built in east of the Dallas Road-Interstate 82 overpass, starting in 2022. Other projects include auditorium improvements at Richland High. “We’ve invited community members, students and staff and are asking them, ‘What do you guys want?’ ” Krasner said. “Then we can determine what we can do. We have to figure out the schedule for the auditorium. We’ll do that before the football fields.” Both Fran Rish Stadium and Hanford High are getting field turf. Fran Rish Stadium includes home side improvements, while Hanford gets athletic field improvements, including bleachers and restrooms. “Soon we’ll start doing community input with the schools,” Krasner said. “We’ll let the booster clubs and community get some extra time to fund-raise and contribute. But Hanford will go first.” In addition, the district’s new Teaching/Learning/Administrative Center will be built behind Leona Libby Middle School in West Richland. Like Pasco and Kennewick school districts, Richland is looking for more land. “I’m always looking for land,” Krasner said. “That’s part of my

job. Any growth that’s going to happen is going to be west and south. We can’t go east because there is a river, and north you have Hanford.” Another sign the district is growing? More buses. “Every year I buy five new school buses for replacements,” he said. He’ll likely keep doing this.

Beaver said this school year’s capital projects will help alleviate some enrollment pressure. “Our capital projects budget for the 2018-19 school year is approximately $81 million,” Beaver said. “We do plan to present another bond to voters in 2021 or 2022. This would likely pay for construction of a third high school if approved by voters.” l

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Higher education The Brelsford Vineyards apartments are under construction at the north end of the Washington State University Tri-Cities campus in Richland. They will include one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom units. (Photo: Scott Butner Photography)

College projects could depend on state funding BY JEFF MORROW

T

he Tri-Cities’ two colleges have plenty of capital projects planned in the coming years, though some are dependent on approval and money from the state Legislature. At Washington State University Tri-Cities in north Richland, the campus now has an apartment complex open for students who wish to live close to class and has plans for a new $3 million academic building. Columbia Basin College in Pasco bought the new SunHawk Hall housing/apartment complex across the street from the school. In addition, CBC has plans to fill out the fourth floor of the Rand Wortman Medical Science Center in Richland and is looking at building a new student recreational center and gymnasium on the Pasco campus.

WSU Tri-Cities

Fall 2018 enrollment at WSU Tri-Cities dipped 5 percent compared to the previous year to 1,841 students. It was the only WSU campus to record an enrollment drop. “It’s grown 33 percent over the last four years,” said Jeffrey Dennison, WSU Tri-Cities spokesman. “We anticipate growth as we offer more programs.” The first of multiple phases of WSU Tri-Cities apartments on campus opened in August 2018. Known as the Brelsford Vineyards, the apartments are at the north end of campus and include one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom units. The apartments are owned by Vineyards Apartments LLC, and operated by DABCO Property Management, which also manages several apartment complexes near the WSU Pullman campus.

WSU Tri-Cities partnered with Corporate Pointe Developers, which formed Vineyards Apartments, and agreed to build the apartments to provide students with an on-campus housing option. Dennison said students and faculty have priority for the apartments. “But if people who live and work in north Richland want to rent, they can too,” Dennison said. In May 2018, the WSU Board of Regents approved a $27 million academic building on the Richland campus in its 2019-21 state capital budget request and 10-year plan. In January 2018, the state Legislature and Gov. Jay Inslee approved $114 million for construction and renovation projects throughout the WSU system. Among the WSU projects was a design development for the new academic building on the TriCities campus, worth $3 million. u

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“The last two legislative sessions, we got the pre-engineering money funded, and the design building funded,” Dennison said. “We anticipate the state will approve the next step. We’re hopeful.” That budget approval should come in January 2019. In September 2017, WSU TriCities opened its $5.73 million campus student union building. The 9,951-square-foot building has a 2,437-square-foot multipurpose event space, new furniture, a gathering space, coffee bar, interactive TV monitors, and offices for the Associated Students of WSU Tri-Cities and the office of student life. “It’s been great,” Dennison said. “It’s our third semester in there.”

Columbia Basin College

CBC opened the new SunHawk Hall complex last fall. SunHawk Hall, on 20th Avenue

across from CBC and next to Sun Willows Golf Course, has 44 apartment units on three stories. There are 126 beds. The building has 26,800 square feet and is located on five acres. CBC anticipates construction of three more apartment buildings, depending on demand. “The dorms are seeing an increase in student interest,” said Tyrone Brooks, vice president for administrative services at CBC. “We’re getting the word out. Occupancy is higher than last year. Application numbers seem high.” In addition, CBC is anticipating a couple of other projects to start. The college would like to fill out the fourth floor of the Rand Wortman Medical Science Center, at 940 Northgate Drive in Richland, across the street from the Richland Public Library. “The first three floors are being used,” Brooks said. “We’re filling

out the fourth floor. We’re expanding our dental hygiene program.” Brooks estimates the cost to finish the building to be about $3.7 million. The building, which has 72,600 square feet, opened last year and is used for training health care professionals. It features 32 examination rooms, X-ray room suite, doctors’ offices and training facilities for college classrooms. The cost of the project was $17.7 million, with $3 million donated by Kadlec Regional Medical Center. The building is named after Kadlec’s former chief executive officer, Rand Wortman, who retired in May 2016. CBC’s board of trustees has approved the plan for the topfloor renovation work. But the state Legislature has to approve it. If so, Brooks anticipates the design and bid process to get going early 2019. u

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Columbia Basin College plans to expand its dental hygiene program to the fourth floor of Rand Wortman Medical Science Center at 940 Northgate Drive in Richland. (Photo: Scott Butner Photography)

“We have a target of having the construction complete by 2019,” he said. The need is there, he said. “Our current dental hygiene lab is fully filled,” Brooks said. “It’s on the Pasco campus. There is a waiting list for students to

get into the program. The new facility will give us more hygienist chairs.” Brooks said CBC trustees approved an estimated $400,000 for the pre-design process for an improved recreational center. An architect will look at what

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students want. The facility would include outdoor equipment, a basketball court for students (intramurals), plus renovate the current basketball court that the school’s basketball and volleyball teams uses. Brooks isn’t sure what the capital projects budget will be yet. “It’s too soon,” he said. “We’ll need to wait and see what the state Legislature does for the 2018-19 budget.” But the state won’t fully fund a new recreation center and gym. “The state considers a gym and athletic facility ancillary,” Brooks said. “So it doesn’t pay for those.” Not all of it, anyway. “The students elected to provide an increased fee to help,” Brooks said. “They see the benefit. Students are increasingly asking for more recreational activities.” Once the Legislature decides on a budget, if it’s approved, CBC will move forward. “It’s its approved, that’ll be the start,” he said. “We’ll issue the debt, then start the design and construction.” The goal would be to have the facility opened in fall 2021. Meanwhile, Brooks continues to look for more land and analyze student growth. “I’m always concerned about land availability,” he said. “It’s really a long-range plan function. Our master plan goes out 70 years. We are seeing a slight increase in student growth locally for the next couple of years coming up, about 5 percent. But we see it as fairly flat in 2021. There is a natural ebb and flow in the community.” l


Profile for Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business/Senior Times

Focus: Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 2018  

Focus: Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 2018  

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