Focus: Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 2019

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Focus Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities

2019-20 specialty publication of the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

CONTENTS 5 8 12 15 18

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

25 28 32 36 43 48 54

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

509-737-8778 • 8919 W. Grandridge Blvd., Ste. A1 • Kennewick, WA 99336 Publisher: Melanie Hair Editor: Kristina Lord Graphic Designer: Shawna Dinh Advertising Director: Tiffany Lundstrom Advertising Account Manager: Chad Utecht COVER: Preferred Freezer Services construction off Polar Way in Richland; ABOVE: Horn Rapids Industrial Park off Highway 240 in Richland. | Photos by Scott Butner Photography 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.

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Badger Canyon Apartments off Ridgeline Drive in Kennewick. | Photo by Scott Butner Photography

Relief on horizon for housing shortage as prices skyrocket BY ROBIN WOJTANIK


he Tri-City construction market continues to add millions of dollars in new projects as home and commercial lease prices skyrocket. The average Tri-City home sale price did not dip below $300,000 for the first eight months of 2019. But area real estate experts say prices could begin to level off in 2020. “I think we’re in a really good spot for at least the next couple of years,” said Lola Franklin, chief executive officer of the TriCity Association of Realtors. The commercial real estate market also remains strong, with more new buildings planned and lease rates rising across Benton and Franklin counties. As home prices stabilize, the persistent short supply of homes for sale likely will improve as property in new developments becomes available for sale within the next year. “Our members tell us there are 30-plus

developments set to hit within the next six to 10 months. So that will help inventory by a lot,” Franklin said. With the added inventory, Franklin doesn’t expect home prices to continue their steady rise. The highest active home listings on a single day in August 2019 was 645, the most it had been all year. The inventory of active listings, not including homes with a pending sale, has climbed steadily each month since March 2019’s low of 411. Still, the number of homes for sale in August 2019 was fewer than the three previous years at the same time. This tight market is what’s caused a squeeze as builders struggle to keep up with incessant demand. The Home Builders Association of TriCities tallied 1,109 permits for single-family homes issued in the first eight months of 2019, up nearly 100 from the same period the previous year and nearly 400 more from the same period five years ago. The total value for single-family home Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 5

Packaging Corporation of America construction off Kingsgate Way in Richland. | Photo by Scott Butner Photography

permits issued in the first eight months of 2019 reached nearly $328 million for properties in Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, West Richland, Benton City, Prosser and unincorporated Benton and Franklin counties. The lion’s share of permits issued were in Pasco with 408, or about 77 percent more permits than in Kennewick and Richland, which each approved about 230 permits for the first eight months of 2019. Pasco’s building permits are pricier than the other two cities’, partly due to a nearly $5,000 fee tacked on to each one to offset the new homes’ possible impact on the Pasco School District. After all, more homes mean more students. Despite an initial outcry from builders, the increased cost hasn’t affected the pace of building, with 150 percent more home permits issued for the first eight months of 2019, compared to the same period five years ago. The average price for a TriCity home sold in August 2019 was $333,500, according to the Tri-City Association of Realtors. The average Tri-City home sale 6 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

price reached the $300,000 mark for the first time in July 2018. “I moved here eight years ago and $200,000 was considered mid-range. Now $300,000 is kind of the mid-range,” Franklin said. Homes considered to be on the low-end are now starting in the $200,000s, she said. First-time buyers are finding home ownership more accessible, thanks to interest rates for mortgages remaining low. The ever-increasing home sale list prices have prompted homeowners to consider selling, Franklin said. “Anecdotally, sellers see the increase in prices, which has been a nice increase, and go, ‘I want to price my house at the top of the range, or even above, because I hear that there are bidding wars.’ Well, the bidding wars have slowed down,” Franklin said. This could indicate a “flattening out” of prices. Franklin said this has led to more price reductions. Without tracked data on bidding wars, Franklin can only rely on her association members to relay their experiences in the market, which include the most competition for homes in the

$250,000 to $300,000 range. “If you list anything at $205,000, $208,000 or $210,000, it’s gone, with multiple offers,” she said. Even if prices are higher than they were a decade ago, the TriCities is still affordable compared to markets across the state, including nearby Walla Walla, Franklin said. Plus, “the quality of life is exceptional and it’s a relatively low cost of living,” pointed out Michael Novakovich, president of Visit Tri-Cities. Others, including U.S. Department of Energy employees who come to work at the Hanford nuclear reservation from out of state, have different markets to compare the Tri-Cities to. “Some of the people coming here have done the tour of DOE sites. They know what kind of place this is. Not only our economy, but the pace of life and cost of living; it’s a real appealing place,” said Rob Ellsworth, senior advisor with SVN | Retter & Co. in Kennewick. Novakovich said his team frequently hears common themes from those relocating to the area. “Often they’re moving here for jobs, but also because their kids or their grandkids are here. For people who moved here from the west side, they enjoy the weather, the lack of traffic, and we have a lower tax base,” he said. Added employment in construction, covering both residential and commercial building, also has continued to affect the Tri-City economy. Estimates from Ajsa Suljic, regional labor economist for the state Employment Security Department, show 10,000 employees in the metro region at work in construction. This is an increase of about 6.4 percent year over year, which was down

from a recent high of 16 percent two years ago. That number was an outlier compared to nearly 15 years of data tracking, which saw the last previous high of 13 percent in 2007. The most recent level of similar growth in construction was between 2014-15, when the number of jobs rose 6.6 percent year over year. Overall, the employment rate in construction continues an upward trajectory, outpacing Employment Security Department projections in recent years. In 2018, total non-farm employment for Benton and Franklin counties was 124,512. “Our area experienced virtually no recession,” said Franklin, which has helped lure people to the Tri-Cities even years later. Estimates from the state’s Office of Financial Management put the Tri-City metro population just a few thousand people shy of 300,000 in 2019, with twothirds of those residents concentrated in Benton County. Franklin County was the state’s fastest growing county between 2018-19, with an estimated increase of 2.31 percent, followed closely behind by Benton County at 2.22 percent. These two counties were among the three fastestgrowing counties in the state between 2018-19. In the next year, Franklin expects “flattening” home sales to be a good thing and the area to remain a seller’s market. “Two years ago, brokers were feeling unsure about what was going on. Now they’re comfortable. I think the way that they’ve adapted, and the way the public has adapted, I think things are positive now. I don’t think anybody wants to see our prices continue to go up. And we don’t want a glut of homes on the market,” Franklin said. 

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Home values rise as affordable housing options languish BY ELSIE PUIG


s Tri-City home prices climb, so does their value. In the last three years, Vicki Monteagudo, broker-owner at Century 21 Tri-Cities and NAI Tri-Cities, said she’s observed a 10.4 percent home appreciation rate. “Some areas have hit doubledigit appreciation in the last 12 months alone, especially in those more lower-end prices,” she said. The Tri-Cities ranks No. 8 among the nation's top 10 markets forecast to appreciate the most through June 2020, according to the latest projections from Veros Real Estate Solutions, a firm specializing in real estate

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valuation data. But will that trend continue? It’s doubtful, said Dave Shinabarger, president of the Tri-City Association of Realtors and a real estate agent with Smart Realtors. “Will the market turn? When will it happen and will it happen? We don’t know,” he said, “but you can’t take a rubber band and stretch it as far as we have and not expect it to snap. “We’re probably good through the summer of (2020), but if you’re considering selling your home, I wouldn’t be waiting another year, especially if you have a transitional plan like moving,” Shinabarger said. Monteagudo sees the local real estate market losing some steam

briefly in the second and third quarter of 2020 and then picking back up, which she says is normal every election cycle. Low inventory has continued to drive up the prices of homes, with the average Tri-City home sale price in the first eight months of 2019 reaching $333,500. And the increases apply to new home construction, too. “If a piece of dirt for just an average size lot, anywhere from 10,000 to 12,000 square feet, costs between $80,000 and $120,000, depending on where it’s located, a home that is $150,000 is almost impossible to do,” said Jeff Losey, executive director of Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities. “Anything less than $300,000 is difficult to do and when you do

Badger Mountain South development off Dallas Road in Richland. | Photo by UpAngle

find it, they go fast.” The average sale price for a 1,400- to 1,600-square-foot, onelevel home with three bedrooms and two baths was $249,336 in 2018. In 2019, the home is worth $265,332, Shinabarger said. That bodes well for sellers, not so much for buyers, he added. The availability of affordable housing options for entry-level buyers is slim, he said. Three years ago, the cost of a starter home ranged between $150,000 to $200,000, but today it is between $225,000 and $300,000, Shinabarger said. “That’s a considerable jump for an entry-level buyer or someone who can’t afford very much,” he said. But the good news is that

mortgage interest rates have remained relatively low, Monteagudo said, which makes the market more enticing and can lower the barrier for a slew of potential buyers. Still, finding homes in an affordable price range continues to be challenging. It’s also not uncommon for a home to have three or four offers within days of being listed, causing a bidding war that ultimately drives up the home’s value—as well as other homes in the neighborhood, Shinabarger said. Appraisers have to look at sales data and that can keep houses locked into a certain value until there’s a sale that breaks that ceiling, he said. Sometimes buyers come from Seattle and pay in cash.

“West side money has more influence than people think,” he said. “I had a cash buyer offer $20,000 above asking price.” But the housing market appears to be poised to change. “We’re seeing inventory slowly creeping up,” Shinabarger said. In 2018, the average number of active residential listings at any given time was 578; in the first eight months of 2019, the average was 505, according to Tri-City Association of Realtors data. A healthy housing market for a community the Tri-Cities’ size should have at least 1,250 listings, Monteagudo said. “We haven’t been at that level for years,” Losey said. In 2017, the average time a home remained on the market

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was 20 days and the median was six. Those numbers haven’t changed since. Losey knows the problem well, but he hasn’t seen any trends indicating the market is turning a corner any time soon. “Lot and land availability and cost of labor are at the forefront of hindrances of getting more homes completed,” he said. Homebuilders cannot keep up with the Tri-Cities’ population surge, an astonishing 6.3 percent growth in the last four years. “A lot of it is because we didn’t have new land platted fast enough for our builders to keep up with demand,” Monteagudo said. “It usually takes about two to four years for new land to be platted and ready to be built on.” Monteagudo points to more home lots becoming available in coming months. Westcliffe Heights in Richland is a master-planned community by Pahlisch Homes with 60 lots available for purchase. Another 155 lots will be released once the others sell and a pool and clubhouse will be built in 2020. The Reserve at Summerview Terrace is adding more than 60 lots in 2019, and Wild Canyon at Horn Rapids has two new phases bringing new lots for development in 2019. In Richland, activity continues in Badger Mountain South, where there were 181 permits through July 2018 and 202 for the first half of 2019. But the most significant growth so far is in Pasco, with the biggest concentration along Road 100 and Broadmoor Boulevard. Columbia Terrace off Chinook Court added 44 new lots in 2019. The city issued 77 percent more single-family home permits than its two city neighbors in the first eight months of 2019. West Richland’s Sunset Heights will add 39 lots in 2019 and The Heights at Red Mountain Ranch will add 563 single-family residential lots on 148 acres with the option of later adding 226 multifamily homes on 36 more acres over the next 10 years.

Losey said there’s a lot of continued activity in the Southridge area in Kennewick along the Bob Olson Parkway. For the first eight months of 2019, 1,109 single-family home permits were issued in Benton and Franklin counties, compared to 715 permits for the same period five years ago. “At the end of the day it is the same issues plaguing the rest of the country,” Losey said. He blames part of the problem on Washington’s Growth Management Act, a state law that requires state and local governments to manage Washington’s growth— which can drive up inflation for homes and make it harder to build. “At some point there needs to be some relief. When homes are selling in days, that’s not healthy and it impacts housing affordability,” Losey said. “Every time you add $1,000 to a home, it just became unaffordable to someone. In the $200,000 range, there’s almost nothing to be had.” 

Photo by Scott Butner Photography

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 11


Courtyard by Marriott hotel construction at Argent Road and 20th Avenue in Pasco. | Photo by Scott Butner Photography

Costs continue to drive up prices BY ROBIN WOJTANIK


ommercial real estate agents cite years of ongoing growth for the Tri-Cities’ especially tight market today. “There’s a lot of leasing, a lot of sales, a lot of new construction going on,” said Rob Ellsworth, senior advisor at SVN | Retter & Co. in Kennewick. “Our market might even be too strong right now because every contractor is filled up. Contractors are selling buildings now that they’re going to put up in 2020. They’re not usually booking this many out.” That’s led to an expected effect of higher prices for new builds. “Everybody I’ve talked to says,

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‘Man, prices are really high.’ And that’s not a negative against our contractors, that’s a function of the market,” Ellsworth said. “There’s so much demand for construction work, contractors can and need to charge more because they’re paying overtime to finish these projects.” In a report produced by Nikki Griffith, owner of Appraisal Group SEWA in Kennewick, she projected 2.9 million square feet of new construction from 2018-19 across all real estate sectors in Benton and Franklin counties, with about 8 percent, or 230,000 square feet, in new office space. Another 8 percent was forecast for retail sites. From 2014-19, the average

square footage of new construction added to the market yearly was about 1.3 million, with most in Benton County. During the five-year period, a total of 6.4 million square feet was added across all real estate sectors. Office and retail space each made up about 8 percent of that total, respectively, creating about three-quarters of a million in new square footage during that period. “I think a lot is internal, smaller, local businesses growing,” said Charles Laird, a licensed real estate broker for Tippett Co. in Pasco who focuses on commercial properties. “And the residential growth is kind of a twofold deal where you’ve got industry growing, the need for jobs. More

houses come in and that creates a need for more office, retail and industrial.” Commercial construction includes office space or storefronts, but also road and other public works projects. These projects increased in 2019 despite an extreme winter—but also likely because the extreme winter damaged infrastructure. Scott Howard, executive director of the Tri-City Construction Council, estimates the number of projects posted to the agency’s virtual plan room to reach 290 in Benton County and 100 in Franklin County in 2019, based on the current pace. Described as “an informational hub for actively bidding projects,” the council’s plan room allows subcontractors, suppliers, general contractors and even the occasional architect or engineer to see what projects are available to bid on. “We scour the newspapers. We track things online, looking for

the latest bids,” so those in the industry have an idea of what’s out there if they want to find available work, Howard said. The number of projects posted to the construction council’s virtual plan room has trended upward since 2017 for Benton County. For Franklin County, there was a dip between 2017-18, but 2019’s totals already far outpace 2018’s 63. As contractors stretch to meet demand for commercial space, agents also are seeing “record” rates for leasing property in the new buildings. Kirt Shaffer, a licensed real estate broker for Tippett Co. who focuses on commercial properties, said he’s spied rates of up to $25-a-square-foot for class A space, considered the most desirable. A few years ago, Shaffer said rates weren’t above $20-a-squarefoot. Lease rates for class B and C properties also have increased an average of $12- to $16-a-square-

foot and $8- to $12-a-square-foot. “Cost of land, construction and cost of development is driving up the prices,” Laird said. These rates don’t include the triple nets, or NNN, which is a square footage rate that includes real estate taxes, insurance and upkeep. “There’s just a confidence in the economy right now. Who knows what it will look like in a couple years after an election cycle,” Laird said. In a 2019 report from the National Association of Realtors, prices for commercial real estate were forecast to steadily climb nationwide, though at a more “modest pace” than what’s been seen recently. The same report predicted continued growth in the industrial sector, a field that brokers say has been booming around Oregon Avenue in Pasco, where properties have filled in around an area known as Frey’s Addition. “If you look at an old plat,

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 13

the city had platted out lots of road and that’s not how it ultimately has developed out. There’s a lot of rights of way throughout all that ground that guys have been getting the city to vacate to create larger tax lots to build industrial buildings on,” Laird said. Much of the development is light industrial and manufacturing, as owners seek to secure land for a location, or expand, often by consolidating other properties. The demand exists for industrial land in north Richland near Horn Rapids. “If people want to build the buildings, there’s people who want to rent them,” said Mandy Wallner, marketing specialist for economic development in the city of Richland. Kennewick has had less industrial land available. “There’s been a little pick up in sales because interest rates have gone down, so it’s caused capitalization rates to cause building values to go down, but it also

allows an increase in what buyers can finance,” Ellsworth said. Compared to larger cities in the region, the Tri-Cities has remained desirable for its cost of living and quality of life. Ellsworth said in the nearly 10 years he’s focused on commercial real estate, he’s seen a growing interest from buyers outside the market—and even outside the country. “I’ve seen a lot of buyers from outside the area have interest in leased properties in this market because they see the value we have, versus a Seattle or Portland or Spokane,” he said. Those in the industry point to continued population growth bolstering the desire for more commercial properties. “I think when we get the 2020 census, people are going to be shocked at how many people are actually in the Tri-Cities,” Ellsworth said. “All those people either live here or come here for their shopping and medical services and all of those things are

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continuing to create a snowball effect.” Laird said national retailers tend to be specific about desired demographics and population before setting up shop in a community. When the Tri-Cities officially hits the 300,000 population mark, it could open up new interest from retailers not yet seen locally. “Food processing, agriculture and medical are all growing really strong, so those pull other things in, like retail and financial services, and makes those sectors stronger,” Ellsworth said. Brokers described some “submarkets” in the Tri-Cities that are a hotbed for current and future growth. Laird and Shaffer believe these include Road 68 in Pasco, Queensgate Drive and Badger Mountain South, both in Richland. “They’re all kind of competing with each other, even though it’s not a huge distance apart. They’ll all be driven by the residential growth. Big box started and smaller ones piggybacked on. If the rooftops continue to show up, you’ll see additional demand for neighborhood strip malls,” Laird said. Ellsworth thinks the area between Belmont Boulevard and Van Giesen Street in West Richland could take off, as well as property along the Bob Olson Parkway in Kennewick. “We see a lot of residential growth near Southridge that’s going to lead to more commercial activity. That’s an area that’s really been untapped, and I think the Bob Olson Parkway is underused. I think as more people see it and understand it and use it, it’s going to become a major thoroughfare,” Ellsworth said. Experts agreed there is plenty of new construction still ahead for the foreseeable future, even with a market that’s been squeezed for a couple years. “If our market slowed down just a touch, it might bring it to a more balanced market than it is now,” Ellsworth said. 

CITY OF KENNEWICK Sunrise Ridge development off Olympia Street near Highway 397. | Courtesy Windermere Group One

The reigning retail capital of the Tri-Cities BY ELSIE PUIG


he city of Kennewick continues to grow at a steady clip, ushering in new commercial and residential growth anchored by recent developments along Columbia Center Boulevard and in the Southridge, Vista Field and downtown areas. There’s plenty of commercial development along Columbia Center Boulevard, including the opening of three popular new stores. Goodwill Industries of the Mid-Columbia opened its 20,205-square-foot store and warehouse on Columbia Center Boulevard in August 2019, a project valued at $2.75 million. The new 45,000-square-foot Dick’s Sporting Goods—valued at $7.4 million—at Columbia Center mall welcomed shoppers in September 2019. The 106,000-square-foot At Home, a home décor store on Columbia Center Boulevard,

where a Shopko store used to be, opened in October 2019. The building underwent a $2.6 million remodel. New commercial permits issued for the first eight months of 2019 totaled 55 and were valued at more than $80 million, compared with 58 permits valued at more than $47 million issued during the same period the previous year. Total permit revenue for the first eight months of 2019 was $1.6 million, compared to the previous year’s $1.5 million. “Revenue is still going up and valuation is going up,” said Miles Thomas, economic development manager for the city of Kennewick. “There’s a similar number of projects, but we have larger or more substantial projects this year.” The hospitality and entertainment sectors also are getting a boost. In September 2019, the Kennewick City Council approved an agreement to sell

2019 population estimate: 83,670 Increase from 2018: 2.2% 3.56 acres next to the Three Rivers Convention Center and Toyota Center to A-1 Pearl LLC. The hotel development company has plans to build a $50 million, seven-story hotel and 40,000-square-foot, threestory retail center. In addition, the agreement grants the option to buy the adjacent property for the second phase of the project, which would create residential, commercial and public spaces with water features and a boardwalk. As part of this public-private partnership, the city would commit $35 million to expand the convention center by adding 33,000 square feet of exhibition space and a 2,300-seat theater. Thomas said the agreement gives both parties two years to secure financing and another two years to bring it to fruition.

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“No new taxes will be required for the city,” Thomas said. “We’re utilizing existing debt servicing to fund the project.” The expansion will be a benefit to the community, Thomas said. “When we have a Broadwaystyle production, we’re using only a portion of the floor space (at the Toyota Center),” he said. “It takes substantial time and energy to make the space work for those productions. Once the new theater is built, we can move those productions there and market the entire Toyota Center for conventions, shows and entertainment that fits its full capacity. It’s an opportunity to use each space as it’s intended and recruit the right shows for the venues.” Kennewick issued 231 singlefamily home permits valued at about $69 million in the first eight months of 2019, compared to 185 permits valued at $49 million issued during the same period five years ago. New housing developments

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include Sunrise Ridge, with 44 lots on 20 acres on the east side of Olympia Street near Highway 397, and Southridge Estates with 51 lots off Ridgeline Drive. For both commercial and residential tenant improvements, the city’s express permitting program, launched in 2015, has been popular. For residential improvements, homeowners can secure a permit in less than 72 hours for additions, pergolas, decks or to finish a basement. To address gaps in affordable housing availability, the city hopes to use money from House Bill 1406, which allows cities to leverage sales tax revenues to fund affordable housing projects. “The opportunity is pretty amazing from a legislative standpoint to be able to use state dollars for affordable housing intervention in our local communities,” Thomas said. The Kennewick Housing Authority has plans to build 16 affordable housing units at 128

E. 13th Ave. The project includes two-bedroom and studio units, with parking and open green space between them. The housing authority is using funds from the city’s Community Development Block grant for the project. Heatherstone Apartments on West 10th Avenue received a tax credit to complete $20 million in renovations to modernize units, while extending affordable housing opportunities for low-income individuals and families. In the heart of Kennewick's retail area, construction on Vista Field roads began in spring 2019 as part of the Port of Kennewick’s plan to turn 103 acres of the former airport into a pedestrianfriendly development featuring homes and retail. “The Port of Kennewick anticipates that in late the first quarter of 2020, it will be begin to sell development for lots under the master plan for Vista Field,” Thomas said. The first phase includes

Fairchild Cinemas construction off South Quillan Street in Kennewick. | Photos by Scott Butner Photography

20 acres. The port plans to renovate the old airport hangar to make it leasable space for restaurants and retail. In downtown Kennewick, Layered Cake Artistry worked in fall 2019 to complete an extensive renovation at 115 W. Kennewick Ave., which included adding a commercial kitchen. It is using half the space, the other half—3,500 square feet—is available for lease. Construction of a 2,500-square-foot waterfront building wrapped up in fall 2019 to welcome two new tasting rooms for Cave B Estate Winery and Gordon Estate Winery. It’s part of the Port of Kennewick's Columbia Gardens Urban Wine and Artisan Village development off Columbia Drive. In early 2019, the port finished a pedestrian-friendly street called Columbia Gardens Way between North Cedar and Date streets, along with a waterfront food truck plaza with several tenants: Swampy’s BBQ, Frost Me Sweet Mobile Desserts, The Ciao Wagon and Rollin’ Fresh Ice Cream. Columbia Gardens will have six new parcels ready for private-sector development— long-term ground lease or purchase—to complement the wine village, which could include breweries, galleries or bistros. “Lots of arts, lots of wine, lots of access to waterway and food trucks—there’s a lot going on in the waterfront,” said Tana Bader Inglima, deputy chief executive officer at the Port of Kennewick. 

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New bridge, developments to boost central district BY ROBIN WOJTANIK


ransformational projects in central Richland will add new housing options, transportation routes and businesses to the city’s core. The long-anticipated Duportail Street bridge is expected to open in fall 2020. The route will connect drivers from the Stevens Drive corridor to the Queensgate Drive retail hub, and provide easier access to locations in central Richland, like The Parkway and Uptown Shopping Center. The city of Richland said the new bridge is “progressing as anticipated.” Apollo Inc. of Kennewick is the general contractor on the $38 million project that got underway in March 2018. In

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summer 2019, crews worked on the deck spans and poured concrete for sidewalks on both sides of the Yakima River. Construction is not allowed on the bridge year-round due to limitations by federal agencies connected to fish passage in the water below. The city of Richland already is looking ahead to the opportunities the bridge's completion could provide for additional development. “Depending on the alignment on the Queensgate side, we will get some more commercial property that opens up with limited use,” said Mandy Wallner, marketing specialist for economic development in the city of Richland. “It’s kind of more ideal for a hotel with adjacent commercial uses.”

A number of projects are underway in the central business district, including a new building at 702 The Parkway that is expected to house Moniker—a cocktail bar—and two other businesses. Moniker would join an existing 13 new businesses that have opened in The Parkway from August 2018-19. The city is “anxious” for Dovetail Joint, a new 3,000-square-foot restaurant scheduled to open in the Uptown Shopping Center, to join the 15 new businesses that opened in the Uptown from August 2018-19. Just south of the Uptown, a flurry of work is underway at 1100 Jadwin, a commercial building getting an exterior facelift and other improvements, including

Duportail Street bridge construction in Richland. | Photo by Taryn Harkness

a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, roof and updated common areas. The $4 million project is spearheaded by Boost Builds, the same team behind the new Park Place apartments under construction at 650 George Washington Way. “We will be bringing this building up to modern standards,” said David Lippes, principal of Boost Builds. A new façade on the first story and other improvements at the Jadwin building are expected to take six months. “We are adding a whole lot of landscaping, including cleaning out the ditch that is there, which is an overgrown mess, in most of the same way Kadlec cleaned out the ditch and beautified it,”

Lippes said. “We have water running through our town, and it’s beautiful if we make it visually accessible.” An even bigger overhaul is planned for the building next door at 1200 Jadwin, a property also owned by Lippes and John Crook of Boost Builds. A devastating water leak forced all tenants to move out of the 110,000-square-foot commercial building about four years ago. “It was just a mess,” Lippes said. “The building was vacated to rebuild it as a commercial building, and John and I got in the way and said, ‘Let’s not rebuild it as a commercial building. Let’s get it gutted and see if we can modify its use for an apartment building.’ ” Their vision includes

2019 population estimate: 56,850 Increase from 2018: 2.8% 137 residential “market-rate rental units.” Parts of the exterior would come off to allow for each apartment to have its own balcony, some with floor-to-ceiling glass. Lippes is excited about putting residential units into concrete, which is known for absorbing sound. “It will end up being the only concrete apartment building in the Tri-Cities. I hope it’s the quietest one, and it will have really tall ceilings with exposed concrete, so more like any loft building that has been converted from one use to another. It should have an urban loft-like aesthetic,” he said.

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 19

There’s no expected start or finish date for the 1200 Jadwin project. “We are deep into the design phase, which we’ve been into now for about a year,” Lippes said. “I don’t have a timeframe. It depends on design, cost and the reality we’ll be faced with—that is building something that fits within our budget.” Boost Builds’ Park Place development on George Washington Way will fill in the muchmaligned spot known as “the pit.” Describing the end result as “fabulous,” Lippes is enthusiastic about bringing a new level of amenities to Tri-City rental housing. “It will be the first building with enclosed, secure parking,” he said. “Most of the rental buildings end up a little bit on the outskirts of town because of the land cost. So we’re going right for the heart of town with a higher-

quality offering. And that means we have to charge more in rent.” There’s already a waiting list for those interested in the 106 units overlooking Howard Amon Park. The apartments will be on the east end of the property with retail right along the street and a parking lot in between to increase walkability. “For so long, in many communities across the country, including ours, the design was: street, sidewalk, parking lot, strip mall,” Lippes said. “And now the idea is: let’s take the parking lot off the street, and let’s put that somewhere else and put the building right on the street.” He said that’s why the retail buildings under construction on George Washington Way are right along the sidewalk—to create a more urban style with people on foot in a downtown community. Lippes believes it

will let people “jump from a sidewalk into a retail space.” The Park Place retail areas will be ready in spring 2020. The housing units should be available for move-in by summer 2020. The city continues to market its former City Hall site that has frontage to Swift, George Washington Way and Jadwin. After tearing down the city buildings in 2019, Richland wants to sell the lot as either one or two parcels. Staff and services were relocated one block west at a newly-constructed building that opened in June 2019. Richland says it is looking for the “right fit” in a potential buyer for the highprofile piece of land. If a single parcel was purchased, the city may move the fire station at 1000 George Washington Way across the street to 975 George Washington Way. Additionally, the Richland

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Park Place development off George Washington Way in Richland. | Photo by Scott Butner Photography

Fire Department is looking to establish a fire station in north Richland to service the growing number of residents there. The city bought land at Ninth Street and Port of Benton Boulevard and also has land at Jadwin and Highway 240. The north end of Richland has seen multimillion dollar industrial activity near Kingsgate Way and other spots north of Horn Rapids Road. Through the end of July 2019, the city closed on 85 acres totaling $4.1 million. On Polar Way, Preferred Freezer is in the midst of a $35 million expansion, and a $26 million cardboard box plant is being built nearby for Packaging Corporation of America. The city is doing its part to make the area marketable and accessible, investing $1.6 million

to extend Henderson Loop west a half mile and Battelle Boulevard west from Kingsgate to open up lots of up to 20 acres in the Horn Rapids Industrial Park. Richland is master planning the 1,341 acres it received from the U.S. Department of Energy on the north end of town. Wallner said it’s likely 100-acre lots would be pitched to “large, Boeing-type developers” through direct recruiting. It’s possible the city will wrap up the Duportail bridge work and dive into another bridge project if it is approved for a federal grant. Richland will find out in November 2019 if it’s been approved for $29 million in funding to create a Highway 240 “flyover” at Aaron Drive to relieve bottlenecks at the intersection near Wellsian Way and Interstate 182. The grant would cover 80 percent of the

expected cost of the bridge. The overall emphasis expected in 2020 will focus on central Richland and areas north, a shift from where a lot of growth has focused for years. This is expected to include new buildings and tenants along George Washington Way and continued growth at the north end of town. Lippes and other developers looking to make their mark on the changing landscape have big visions for attracting more people to the city’s core to live, work and play. “The more businesses we have in our community that reflect not a Wall Street-designed, corporate image, but reflect the culture and experience and expressiveness of an individual’s personality, the more fun it’s going to be for every one of us to live in this community,” he said. 

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 23

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Record-breaking growth pushes further west, north BY ANDREW KIRK


asco’s residential subdivisions continue to gobble up farmland and large buildings are sprouting up all over industrial zones. Franklin County is offering to let the city annex 4,800 acres of land to the north so it has room to grow, said Rick White, community and economic development director for Pasco. Prior to the Great Recession, 2005 set the record for building permits—of all types—in Pasco with 2,445. That record was broken in 2017, with 2,616 permits, and again in 2018, with 2,686. Pasco is on pace to set a new record in 2019—it processed 1,947 permits through Sept. 1, 2019. Through the first eight months of 2019, the city received applications for 278 commercial permits valued at $67 million, and 48 industrial permits valued at $9 million. During the same period the previous year, commercial permits totaled 295, valued at $28 million, and industrial permits totaled 57, valued at $27 million. The development activity is happening in numerous locations, as well, White said. Along Interstate 182, it is visible between roads 44 and 68. “Former Department of Natural Resources property on Road 68 is being developed as fast as they can plat lots,” White said. Property owners with acreage surrounding their homes have begun infilling the land along Court Street between roads 48 and 56 and 58 through 62, he said. The Chapel Hill subdivision east of Road 68 on the south side

of the freeway continues to grow. The Sandifur Crossing shopping complex was under construction in summer 2019, and several businesses are rebuilding or doing significant remodels on Lewis Street and Clark Street in central Pasco. New homes and businesses still are going up in east Pasco, as well. And after years of planning for it, the gravel pit west of Broadmoor Boulevard is finally getting water and sewer service critical for development, White said.

2019 population estimate: 75,290 Increase from 2018: 2.3% With nowhere else to grow and population growth predicted for years to come, the city took action, White said. Plans are in the works for development of the area from Broadmoor to the river and then north, he said. The population of Pasco exceeds 75,000. In the next 20 years it is expected to grow to 121,000 and that’s the “moderate” forecast, White said. Pasco has a young population—the median age is below 29. That’s significantly younger than residents in Richland and Kennewick, he said. And the average family size is larger than its Three Rivers Elementary School off Road 84 in Pasco. Photo by Taryn Harkness

neighbors across the river. The city’s plan for this growth forecasts for 50 years and then breaks it down into six- and 10-year increments. Right now the plan calls for 3,600 additional acres for urban areas with accompanying water and sewer. The new sewer lines going in under the I-182 bridge over the river and north to Harris Road should serve the area up to Burns Road for the next 10 years. But growth north of Burns Road is predicted —including a site for a new high school—so the city also is looking for sites for new water reservoirs. Two new schools also are under construction near Broadmoor and expected to open in fall 2020, White said. The new neighborhoods in the Broadmoor area will be more dense—and walkable. “It will follow a different development pattern… land use opportunities will be much more varied. It won’t just be one home per quarter-acre lot,” he said.

26 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

And 140 acres near Burden Boulevard are zoned for commercial development, with plans for smaller businesses—more “everyday shopping” than what has been typical of west Pasco commercial development, White said. “If you threw a dart in the middle of Tri-Cities, it’d be right there,” he said. The plans for the Broadmoor area attracted Numerica Credit Union to build a branch there. The building is expected to open in December 2019, said Kelli Hawkins, Numerica’s spokeswoman. “When you look at the area of Broadmoor, it is central to the Tri-Cities area… it will be a mixed use of residential, commercial and public amenities so we will be close to where our members live, work and play,” she said. The Sandifur Crossing development at the intersection of Road 68 and Sandifur has already welcomed several anchor tenants—including Grocery Out-

let—and several more retailers and restaurants have already pledged to open there. “Hogback Development Co. chose to develop Sandifur Crossing on Road 68 in west Pasco due to the current and future tremendous growth potential,” said Chris Waddle, lead developer at Hogback, in an email. “This property benefits from strong daily draw provided by dense surrounding residential, high exposure from a preeminent retail arterial and five retail pads currently in development. West Pasco has already been named the fastest growing (metropolitan statistical area) in Washington state, and the future looks even brighter for this fastgrowing trade area.” The city’s investments in east Pasco include the Lewis Street overpass project, improvements to the downtown farmers market and nearby Fourth Street. Converting Lewis Street from an underpass to an overpass will allow the city to demolish the aging bridge and

better connect east Pasco to the downtown area, improving the economy in both neighborhoods. The project will begin in late 2019, White said. Ed Mulhausen, owner of Burger Ranch, said the overpass could give his restaurant more visibility, but previous street projects have hurt his business. “The last two projects took twice as long as they said. The last one was finished in April (2019) ... and we still haven’t recovered from it. We’re still behind 2017 sales,” he said. Mulhausen said he gets good traffic from the police station, hospital and other workers from downtown businesses. The overpass could make it difficult to get to Burger Ranch, depending on the final street layout. He said he’s expressed his concerns to city engineers. Alejandra Garcilazo, owner of Palacio 226 Hair Salon on West Lewis Street near the underpass, said the project has been promised for several years but it hasn’t started yet. “I hope it does. I don’t have any parking where my business is at,” she said. “In the layout—as shown on a paper we got in the mail—the street had more parking in the picture. So hopefully it will help,” she said. Germán Daleana, manager of the Lewis Street Economart on East Lewis Street, near the railroad tracks, said the underpass is bad for the neighborhood. “It’s been there forever and needs to be rebuilt. If people go over, there won’t be so much trash. I walk to work and it’s nasty, stinky and smells like piss. Too many homeless people use it as a shelter when it rains,” he said. “It will make Pasco look way better.” A $4 million renovation of Peanuts Park—named after a beloved resident who frequented the area—and the farmers market will make the area near Fourth Street and Lewis Street more modern, White said. The market’s roof will be lowered and more shade cover-

Numerica Credit Union off Road 100 in Pasco. Photo by Scott Butner Photography

ing installed. The grade will be flattened and a private developer will convert a vacant building on the east side of the market into a dining destination. “Peanuts Park will be unrecognizable when it’s done,” White said. Work is scheduled to begin in December 2019. El Torito MX Market Supervisor Daniella Quinones said the busy farmers market brings more people to the neighborhood. Her

store sits adjacent to the park. She saw a rendering of the city’s plans for the block about a year ago and said it “definitely” looked like a positive. “I think it would bring more people to the area,” she said. A streetscape renovation to replace trees and sidewalk panels along Fourth will narrow the street and widen sidewalks. The grade also will be flattened so it will be curbless, which would be an ideal festival venue, White said. 

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 27


Residential projects continue to outpace commercial sector BY ANDREW KIRK


he Tri-City’s bedroom community saw continued residential growth in 2019 and more is on the horizon. West Richland issued 86 residential building permits for the first half of 2019, compared to 42 during the same period last year. The Heights at Red Mountain Ranch, the largest residential development project ever approved by the city, will include 563 single-family homes and eventually 226 multi-family residential units in later phases, for an expected occupancy of 2,249. The first phase will feature 105 homes. Four commercial building permits also were issued in the first six months of 2019—the same amount as in 2018-17—but the city knows it needs to bolster this sector. “As a bedroom community … we’re lacking retail sales tax on a per capita basis compared to

28 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

other cities. It’s a top priority I’d say,” said Roscoe Slade III, public works director for West Richland. Within Benton County only Benton City receives less funding per capita from commercial activities. West Richland is becoming a series of connected neighborhood clusters, Slade said. That means commercial and industrial development has to be planned and incentivized within each cluster. Plenty of projects are in the pipeline. The city is selling its previous City Hall complex and actively recruiting buyers or tenants for a handful of lots adjacent to the new City Hall off Belmont Boulevard. It is also working to buy the old Tri-City Raceway to encourage light industrial development there. One of the two former City Hall buildings on Van Giesen Street was sold in late August 2019 to Eye Care Associates of

West Richland, said Rob Ellsworth, a senior advisor with SVN | Retter & Co. in Kennewick. The building at 3801 W. Van Giesen was still listed for sale in September 2019, and several restaurateurs were looking seriously at it. It also would be perfect for a bank, credit union or day spa, he said. “There are some minor cosmetic issues but it’s ready to go otherwise,” he said. “It’s on a corner with great traffic… it opens itself to a wide variety of retail-type uses.” Much of West Richland’s residential growth in recent years —and some planned in the near future—funnels traffic onto Van Giesen. “Their prospects are only going to improve. It sees a lot of traffic on a daily basis,” Ellsworth said. The city also has a handful of lots for sale or lease in the Belmont Business District adjacent to its new City Hall at 3100 Belmont Blvd. near the intersection of Keene Road. The lots average

Multifamily housing with 33 units on five acres off Bombing Range Road in West Richland. | Photo by Scott Butner Photography

about four acres. Slade said two acres have been sold for a future convenience store/gas station with a Firehouse Subs sandwich shop on the southeast corner of Belmont Boulevard and Keene Road. TriCity developer Ron Asmus has plans to develop about five acres near the same intersection; he requested a building permit in spring 2019 for a 35,000-squarefoot commercial building, valued at $3.2 million, at 2943 Belmont Blvd. The neighborhood formerly was a 40-acre sewage lagoon the city bought from the federal government and is now usable land to benefit the community, Slade said. Leona Libby Middle School, completed in 2017, is nearby, and a newly-completed 65,000-square-foot elementary school building is across the street. The Richland School District is using the new building at 2100 Sunshine Ave. to house Tapteal Elementary while it is rebuilt

at 705 N. 62nd Ave. Once Tapteal is completed, the new elementary school building will house students from Badger Mountain Elementary while it is demolished and a new school built. Only then will the new building on Sunshine Avenue get its own name and students. School boundary lines will be redrawn to assign up to 600 students to attend there, said Ty Beaver, spokesman for the district. About 70 acres adjacent to Libby Middle School has been set aside for a third high school in coming years but first a new 41,000 square-foot Teaching, Learning and Administrative Center will be built at 6972 Keene Road. Construction on it began in summer 2019. Baker Construction & Development is building a Bush Car Wash at 3220 Kennedy Road. The city is negotiating with the Port of Kennewick to buy the old Tri-City Raceway, which the city annexed in 2015. The 92-acre raceway, near Highway 224 and Keene Road, would be the home to a new West Richland police station. Voters approved a $12.5 million bond request in April for a station. The city needs five acres for the police station, so it is hoping to plat the rest into lots for commercial and light-industrial development with the station as the anchor tenant. The development of those 87 acres would proceed as outlined by the Port of Kennewick’s master plan for the area, unless amended. Slade said the city government is proud of how West Richland has grown so quickly and yet retained its small town—even rural—feel. West Richland’s streets were built to accommodate different forms of travel, with bike lanes, sidewalks, bus pullouts and other features for safety and multi-

2019 population estimate: 15,340 Increase from 2018: 0.13% modal use, Slade said. “We won a state award and grant money for our streets,” he said. “Most of the roadways in West Richland are new and constructed with multi-modal in mind… so we’re well connected and ready to expand.” Plans to build a Red Mountain interchange to more easily connect Dallas Road to I-82 were suspended in fall 2019. Troy Suing, assistant regional administrator for planning and program management at the state Washington Department of Transportation, said his office and the city of West Richland have “taken a step back” from that proposal. “The city is looking at other improvements it can make to roadways such as (Highway) 224 and intersections that would be more timely and more effective use of the funds,” he said. “The plan was to improve access and support economic vitality in the area, so they’re taking a step back and saying, ‘What is the right solution at this time?’ ” Were the city to decide the interchange is imperative, the funding would be available, but the process would take two to four years, Suing said. It’s still a challenge meeting the needs of existing residents while planning for future residents, Slade said, but the city is up for it. “We continue to improve the quality of life for West Richland residents and that’s why you’re seeing the growth. This is where people want to live, work and play,” he said. “We’re the best-kept secret in Tri-Cities, but word is getting out.” 

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


Vista Field construction. Courtesy Port of Kennewick

Projects aim to transform city center, riverfront areas BY LAURA KOSTAD


ort of Kennewick projects to transform more than 100 acres in Kennewick’s retail core and a neglected waterfront into pedestrianfocused developments are taking shape. The $4.9 million first phase of the Vista Field development is expected to be completed in January 2020. The project lays the groundwork to turn the former air field into a vibrant, urban, pedestrianfocused, regional town center for the Tri-Cities. The 103-acre site had been essentially dormant since the public use airport closed Dec. 31, 2013. But the afternoon following the April 2019 ground-breaking, Richland-based contractor Total Site Services got to work grinding up the old runway asphalt to make way for the new development. Larry Peterson, director of planning and development for the port, said it’s been exciting to watch the central 20 acres of the site take shape and begin to more closely resemble the artist’s renderings. He visits the property regularly to document the progress, posting regular updates on the port’s website.

32 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

“We bid this project in January and awarded it in March, and the runway started going away in April. We took asphalt out in April, and we’re talking about putting asphalt back in October,” Peterson said. Following the completion of pavement and infrastructure installation in October 2019, the port plans to begin landscaping the new corridor, which will connect Deschutes Avenue and Grandridge Boulevard via a tree-lined, meandering roadway. Following the street’s curves will be a babbling, stream-like water feature punctuated by pools and fountains, some of which will be accessible for the public to dip their toes into. Once the roads are completed, the port will work with the city of Kennewick to turn them over to the city and obtain legal lots of record by March 2020, said Tana Bader Inglima, deputy chief executive officer at the port. Then the shovel-ready land will be available for commercial, retail and residential development that aligns with the port’s community-driven master plan. Proceeds from the sale of Vista Field land will be directly invested into building infrastructure

for subsequent phases of the site’s redevelopment. There are eight phases planned, with a projected 1,100 residential units and 750,000 square feet of retail, office, service and entertainment space at full build-out. This “new urbanism” approach is characterized as being focused on mixed-use zoning at the neighborhood-level, with an emphasis on cultivating vibrant public spaces, multi-modal access, pedestrian-scaled and -oriented streets and denser development, reminiscent of historic downtown city blocks. It’s a model nearly non-existent but gaining popularity within the Tri-City region, and was what the public resoundingly asked for during the four-year visioning and design process that led the city of Kennewick to rewrite its zoning rules so the community’s vision for Vista Field could be realized. From a planning standpoint, Peterson compared the city to a farm: “It’s a finite piece of property

and you’re growing a community on it.” He explained that in the same way farmers are concerned about yield per acre, planners and developers should be too, to best maintain public infrastructure, facilitate emergency services and maximize tax revenue and other economic stimuli. Capitalizing on the property’s full potential is a top priority, given Vista Field’s location at the heart of Kennewick’s entertainment areas and proximity to its central business district. As Peterson explained, “They said, ‘If you’re going to do it, you have one opportunity. It’s not just about 100 acres, because there’s a bunch of 100-acre sites throughout the community. But there’s only one that’s between two freeways, next to the convention center, coliseum, surrounded by the community, next to the regional shopping center—the core of the community—so, you’ve got one chance to get this right.’”

Bader Inglima described the vibe they hope to foster: “Some younger folks don’t want to own a car … or retired folks looking to downsize, active travelers, or those who don’t want a lot of landscape to maintain … By creating a pedestrian-oriented development, then by the nature of being able to walk around and interact, it will create a neighborhood that’s like how downtowns used to be.” Across town, progress continues at another port development that showcases the Tri-Cities’ riverfront. Construction of a fourth building for two more winery tasting rooms is underway at Columbia Gardens Urban Wine and Artisan Village on Columbia Drive in Kennewick. The 2,500-square-foot building, designed by Meier Architecture and Engineering of Kennewick, will be similar to the neighboring wine buildings built in 2018 on the 3.5-acre property. It will feature a clocktower with clock hands

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shaped like wine bottles. The $1.52 million project, completed by Banlin Construction of Kennewick, which also built the first phase of the urban revival project, is one of many transforming the neglected waterfront with no public access and a row of derelict buildings into a destination development. The two new tasting rooms will be home to Gordon Estate Winery of Pasco and Cave B Estate Winery of Quincy. Gordon Estate plans to make the new Columbia Gardens location the face of its local wine business, according to a statement by Katie Gordon Nelson, general manager at the winery. The building is situated along an improved pedestrian walkway that wraps around Duffy’s Pond and connects to the Sacagawea Heritage Trail running along the Columbia River. Cave B will occupy the waterfront side of the building, offering outdoor seating by the trail, while Gordon Estate’s patio will open up to the food truck plaza. “We’re trying to make it look like an old boathouse that has been converted into a winery … a cross between a boathouse and a cabin. There will be two different spaces between the two wineries,” Bader Inglima said. The wineries will join the existing food truck plaza, which also was built as a part of phase two, and features Swampy’s BBQ, Frost Me Sweet Mobile Desserts, The Ciao Wagon and Rollin’ Fresh Ice Cream. A new parking lot also was added to serve the growing wine village. Along with the new buildings and improvements come bold artwork, including an artistic Benton Franklin Transit bus shelter inspired by water, wine barrels and wine grapes. The wave-like canopy reflects the movement of water rolling down the river and large glass marbles in the burgundy, light green and champagne colors of wine grapes are embedded in the concrete bench and within

New tasting rooms under construction at Columbia Gardens Urban Wine and Artisan Village. | Courtesy Port of Kennewick

each of the three panels forming the shelter. Another weatherpatinaed metal art piece, “Aspirations,” will be installed in front of Bartholomew Winery. Work on the new building and tenant improvements are expected

to wrap up in spring 2020, in time for spring barrel tasting. Once complete, six shovelready parcels on remaining Columbia Gardens land will be available for sale for further development. 

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


Pasco wharf east of the cable bridge. Photo by Scott Butner Photography

Warehouses, airport, wharf developments – oh my! BY ANDREW KIRK


he Port of Pasco’s key properties continue to see interest, growth and improvements. The port manages the TriCities Airport and the marine terminal east of the cable bridge, and promotes the development of land on multiple sites in east Pasco to boost the economy in south Franklin County. The port’s operations and administration budget annually exceeds $10 million. “We’ve got barges, we’ve got rail, we’ve got land, we’ve got buildings,” said Mayra Reyna, director of properties for the port.

“It’s here.” The port’s most noticeable construction and real estate activity in 2019 happened at the Big Pasco Industrial Park. Big Pasco’s eight warehouses on 370 acres at the south end of Highway 397 were originally served by rail lines for an Army depot in World War II and turned over to the port in 1958. Each warehouse has four bays, and each bay is roughly an acre. Since concrete truck bays are now more valuable than railroad docks and bay coverings more practical than wooden canopies, the port is in the middle of a long-term project to replace the docks and canopies and modernize the warehouses.

“One major piece of that is roads,” said Gary Ballew, director of economic development and marketing for the port. “When it rains, the roads sit in standing water and then trucks drive over it… it tends to break the roads down very quickly.” A new warehouse industrial park would have stormwater drains, but none ever were installed for Big Pasco—in fact, many of the roads were intended to be temporary, he said. The U.S. Economic Development Administration gave the port a $7.9 million grant in 2019 to add stormwater drain improvements and repave the roads, Ballew said. The port

matched with $1.8 million to improve three miles of roads, which could take up to 24 months. The multi-year modernization project for the warehouses continues. After the wooden docks and canopies are removed, new siding is applied to the building— siding that is purchased from one of Big Pasco’s tenants—Miramac Metals, an arrangement made before the company moved to Big Pasco. The 75-year-old wood is given to tenant Ironsides Custom Grinding for recycling. The project is moving slowly because it must be done in stages so as not to disturb existing tenants and due to unexpected logistical challenges. When the dock is ripped up, so are the aging wooden stairs. Aluminum stairs are the most practical and cost-effective replacement. When the port orders them, it must seek bids for hundreds of sets of aluminum stairs. “We’re doing things on a scale we haven’t been able to pursue before,” Ballew said.

It’s all possible because of improving occupancy at Big Pasco. Reyna said Big Pasco was about half filled when she joined the port three years ago. In 2018, it reached 70 percent occupancy, and in 2019 it’s at 80 percent capacity, she said. The secret to the port’s success filling the warehouses has been flexible management, he said. Short-term leases are available. If companies need 10,000 square feet, the port can place them in an empty warehouse and offer the possibility of growing into the remaining 30,000 square feet at a future date. This allows Big Pasco to accommodate businesses of all sizes, he said. And it’s also a safe gamble, Reyna said. The majority of Big Pasco’s growth has come from existing tenants expanding. The port’s Foster Wells Business Park in north Pasco has welcomed three new tenants, which leaves three parcels left to fill. Global Trac has signed a lease, and two more were being negoti-

ated in fall 2019, Ballew said. This success has prompted the port to try to buy another 300 acres in north Pasco near Foster Wells and the Pasco Processing Center, a development featuring larger industrial lots that sold out in 2015—it’s now home to Pasco Processing LLC, Americold, Twin City Foods and Reser’s Fine Foods. Ballew said the port wishes to offer more large parcels. It was expedient to split some land into smaller parcels to create the Foster Wells Business Center. But with that project nearly complete, a new tract with 300 acres would allow the port to fulfill its original vision for bringing additional food processors to the King Avenue neighborhood. The land is north of the city limits between Highway 395 and North Railroad Avenue. “Our mission is not to be commercial real estate developers. Our mission is to develop the economy, and often the tool we use to do that is real estate

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

Big Pasco Industrial Center off Ainsworth Avenue. | Photo by Scott Butner Photography

development,” Ballew said. “We buy land, we develop it, and we sell it to other people to put industry on it.” The port then will add infrastructure, such as water and sewer service, which will be expensive. Reyna remarked on the irony that much of the port’s best work is not observed by the public because it literally goes on underground. But these commercial land development projects, even with as much of the port’s budget as they take up, are exactly what the region needs for economic development, Ballew said. The Tri-Cities Airport completed its 10-year master plan in 2018 and is working on its priorities for the coming decade, said airport Deputy Director Don Faley. A big win for the port was keeping the atmospheric research plane managed by Battelle. The sophisticated aircraft was getting too old to maintain, so Battelle bought a new one that required a larger hangar than the World War II remnant it had been using. Battelle chose to stay in Pasco 40 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

and build a new 9,000-squarefoot facility large enough for the plane, other vehicles used for the atmospheric research and 2,500 square feet of office space for the nine people employed there. Battelle's old hangar is now available for rent. Private investment continues to trickle in. In 2018, another new hangar with three spaces was finished, and in 2019 two private box hangars were built on the east side of the airport by private owners. Out on the tarmac, a $10 million project got underway in 2019 to rehabilitate and realign Taxiway A and make it parallel to the other east-west runway to save pilots time taxiing. The project will be completed in summer 2020 and is 90 percent funded by the Federal Aviation Administration. After realignment, some of the old runway will be pulled up to eventually install a north-south taxiway. Former Taxiway A in the southeast corner of the airfield may become additional apron space for the general aviation sector when there’s a need for it.

Travelers will be able to stay at a new $10 million Courtyard by Marriott at Argent Road and 20th Avenue, just outside the airport entrance, once it opens in late 2019. It will be a significant resource for business travelers, Faley said. In 2018, Musser Bros. Inc. opened Trucks and Auto Auctions and built a new hangar west of the airport. But development in this area has been slow compared to other port land—and especially compared to other areas of north Pasco—because land cannot be sold without FAA approval. That means business owners have to be willing to build their own facilities on leased land, Faley said, a less popular option. Still, with quick access to the highway, airport, railyards, large neighborhoods and Columbia Basin College, the area still is convenient for many types of businesses, he said. “At hospitals and airports, you always see construction,” Faley joked. The port also manages water-

front property east of the cable bridge known as the marine terminal. The vision is a mixed-use development, Ballew said. With its location along the Sacagawea Heritage Trail and only a few blocks from downtown Pasco, several options are possible. One hang-up for future development is some of the most intriguing proposals want to use the wharf, and a recent assessment determined it needs repairs. “The wharf is really this iconic feature,” Ballew said. “The wharf would be an important part of the marine terminal site.” Divers tested the footings and came back with positive reports on the wharf ’s stability—except for the pier caps, which transfer weight from the platform down through the pier to the footings. Ballew said the challenge is knowing what kind of renovation to perform, which would be determined by how the wharf will be used. Port commissioners will be considering how best to proceed in 2020. The Tri-Cities Public Market Foundation is one group that expressed an interest in bringing an indoor public market to the wharf. “Our board fell in love with the marine terminal the second we stood on that wharf. Someone is going to do something very special with that site one day,” said Adam (Brault) Avenir, president of the foundation. Ballew said the marine terminal also could host some of the river cruise ships that currently dock at Howard Amon Park. Tourists could disembark to visit Lewis and Clark Trail landmarks or area wineries. Or perhaps it could be a place where small leisure boats dock so people could enjoy a drink or a meal after being out on the water. All three ideas would require a different renovation, Ballew said. The goal now is to present the port’s commission with all the information it needs to begin a decision-making process early in 2020, he said. 

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PORT OF BENTON New projects taking shape in PNNL’s neighborhood BY ANDREW KIRK


ort of Benton property not far from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is changing hands as plans are hatched to develop industrial flex space in north Richland. The Port of Benton manages 2,756 acres in the north, central and west side of Benton County, including 50 buildings on 12 sites, 16 miles of short-rail line, one barge slip and one high dock. These properties add up to nearly $90 million in assets. The port’s 2019 budget was $12.3 million to fulfill its mission of promoting economic development in Richland, Prosser, Benton City and surrounding areas of Benton County. So far this year, the port has been extremely busy in north Richland, selling properties near Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. A sale for $804,000 is pending for 5.27 acres in north Richland to Summerlin Desert LLC, said Diahann Howard, interim executive director for the port. The property is near Stevens Drive and Curie Street. Summer-

New owners renovating at 2920 George Washington Way in Richland. Photos by Shawna Dinh

lin Desert has asked to develop the land into industrial flex space with storage units in back. Similar projects recently were completed near Burden Boulevard in Pasco and elsewhere in Tri-Cities with great success. “Industrial flex space is sought in north Richland by people wanting to develop new technologies or scale them up. It is important to have that to offer in north Richland,” Howard said. The port also sold 7.25 acres at 2920 George Washington Way to David, Mark and Nathan Croskrey. The brothers have worked with the port since 1993 to build 15 buildings at or near the Richland Airport. They recently secured land and two 40,000-square-foot, two-story buildings, which the Croskreys are renovating into office and light industrial space for about $1 million. “Those were quite honestly buildings the port was going to demolish. The private sector stepped up to renovate those buildings,” Howard said. The brothers felt smaller spaces

suitable for a laboratory or a shop would be popular in that neighborhood. “We had a vision for developing some smaller startup space to be near the research park,” Nathan said. Scientists at PNNL often develop great technology but need help finding a company to utilize or produce it, he said. They envision tenants with an energy or passion to use their space to make this transition possible. The brothers hope to lease or sell the renovated buildings to fund a full development of the remaining acreage. They already have one tenant signed. “They’ve turned out really nice,” Nathan said. “Our tenant said they’ve had a difficult time finding space like this, so they’re real happy to work with us.” One idea for the remaining acreage in front of the two buildings that has Nathan excited is a 60,000- to 80,000-square-foot sports facility with courts and a gym. He thinks the PNNL, Washington State University Tri-Cities and Horn Rapids

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


• medical • professional • office • religious • food service • winery • retail • agriculture


75 percent of opioid misuse starts with people using medication that wasn’t prescribed for them—usually taken from a friend or family member.* Simple steps, like locking up medications, can stop them from being misused.


44 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Vintner’s Village off Merlot Drive in Prosser. | Photo by Kristina Lord

communities would appreciate the proximity of this type of business, but he will allow market demand to decide. “Providing people space will bring the users. It’s what we’ve done in the past and it’s always worked. Economy good or bad, we just keep plugging away. If space is available, people use it,” he said. The port also sold a $2.5 million building and 5.1 acres to SIGN Fracture Care International, a nonprofit providing surgical devices and training to doctors around the world so better orthopedic treatment can be provided in developing countries. The 38,000-square-foot building is at 451 Hill St., off George Washington Way. The company employs nearly 50 people manufacturing the implants that nearly 5,000 doctors have used in more than 50 countries. SIGN has been able to lease some of its space to printing services company Digital Image Tri-Cities Inc. A significant effort is underway to transition property from Hanford to the port to be readied for development and community use. Land owned by the federal government usually has significant restrictions, such as requirements to report all leases and uses every

year. When agencies hand over those rights to the port, it is a major benefit for the area, Howard said. “The biggest impact to our budget (so far in 2019) was the buy-out of deed restrictions on 72 acres of property for $3 million known as the Richland Innovation Center,” she said. The expenditure was a huge move for the port, but private companies already are interested in the lots, Howard said. Formerly the Hanford 3000 Area, this land was overseen by the U.S. Maritime Administration. Now under the port’s control, it opens up development for flexindustrial space. Another city-port endeavor near Horn Rapids attracted Preferred Freezer, Lamb Weston and Packaging Corporation of America and was deemed a success. Kitty-corner to PNNL along Stevens Boulevard, 1,341 acres also recently were transferred from the U.S. Department of Energy to the city of Richland and the port. By working together, both agencies hope to attract businesses to the area focused on clean energy, bioscience and energy storage, or other firms hoping to work in coordination with PNNL.

“This is a significant opportunity as a job creator for the entire Tri-Cities region,” Howard said. The close proximity of the acreage to PNNL, WSU Tri-Cities, Hanford, an airport, rail lines, a highway and Columbia River dock means the lots will be attractive to companies. Mandy Wallner, marketing specialist in Richland’s economic development office, said she’s looking forward to seeing the master plan for the land. It would be ideal for large-scale operations like a distribution center or manufacturing plant. The master plan will piggyback on that of the nearby Tri-Cities Research District. It would be exciting to see technology created at PNNL— like improved battery storage— embraced by a business needing that innovation, or willing to create a new product with it, to be housed in one of the new lots, Wallner said. “PNNL is forthright to share what they’re working on. So we look at existing companies, then maybe growing our own companies, then come up with marketing plans,” Wallner said. “They’re not recruitment efforts that happen overnight, but is more a long-term culmination. The

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 45

Port of Benton is a great partner for us to have in north Richland working on the common cause of technology innovation and economic development.” Because the port has the ability to buy buildings and also rent them out, it can function as a sort of business incubator in a way the city cannot, Wallner said. The port’s efforts also extend west to Prosser and Vintner’s Village. The winery-focused development was home to 13 existing wineries when the port’s new building was completed in 2019, bringing in new tenants Domanico Cellars and Wautoma Springs. Neighbor’s BBQ and the Prosser Economic Development Association are leasing the remaining spaces. The port wants to sell the rest of the land to developers. “We’re looking for complementary uses to go along with the wineries already there. It’s a nice cluster effect,” Howard said. Vintner’s Village has had a

46 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

significant impact on Prosser tourism, she said, and the port would love to see a hotel or other businesses to help the development become a destination location similar to Woodinville. Just 30 minutes from Tri-Cities, and 49 miles to Yakima, the village is a great place to shop wine “close to the farmer,” which is a proven draw, Howard said. Michael Hicks, owner of Neighbor’s BBQ, said he chose Vintner’s Village because he liked the overall look of the building. “It’s a cool new space and we hope to be the beginning of new growth in the village. We would love to see other businesses that locally make their products. I think there are people teetering on going into business full time with their hand-crafted items and the port is a great partner to do that with,” he said. The port supported the expansion of Chukar Cherries in Prosser, which was completed in 2019. The business has been leas-

ing from the port for 30 years. The 12,000-square-foot expansion cost $1.8 million and allows more space for manufacturing and production, as well as offices for the distribution department. Supporting the growth of small businesses is part of the port’s mission. In 2018, it helped bring a Subway sandwich franchise to Benton City’s downtown area. Efforts continued in 2019 by supporting Fuse SPC Tri-Cities’ plan to create an equity fund. Fuse is a social purpose corporation for startups and business incubation. The port receives grants it passes on to Fuse participants. The first recipients of the new fund could be named in fall 2020. “We’re looking forward to our future and working in collaboration with all our partners,” Howard said. “The port is helping companies both large and small and doing that on both ends of the spectrum to create a more diverse economy.” 


New schools open as Tri-Cities grows BY JEFF MORROW


s the Tri-City’s population climbs toward 300,000, its three school districts continue to work to keep pace with it. Student enrollment numbers for 2018-19 put Kennewick’s student enrollment at 19,750 students; Pasco’s at 18,774; and Richland’s at 14,204, according to data from the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Voters seem to understand the districts’ facilities needs by supporting multimillion dollar bonds for new schools and other improvements. In February 2019, Kennewick voters approved a $125 million bond, and together with matching state dollars, the district is getting new schools and renovating others. The Pasco School District is completing projects funded with a $99.5 million bond voters ap-

48 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

proved in 2017. In the Richland School District, projects chug forward thanks to a $99 million bond passed in 2017 and $42 million in state matching funds. Here’s a look at what’s going on in each district:

Kennewick School District

The biggest project paid for with the 2019 bond is the new Kennewick High School, estimated to cost $87.4 million. A new two-story school will replace the 1951 building. It will include a science wing and dining commons, and connect to the existing Lions’ Den gym and remodeled auditorium. The school, built for a maximum of 2,000 students, will be about 292,000 square feet. Construction began in summer 2019, and it’s set to be com-

pleted by August 2021. Kennewick’s two other main high schools also will see improvements. Kamiakin High is getting 12 new classrooms and athletic facility improvements, including artificial turf to replace existing grass fields, a track replacement, additional restrooms, concessions and sports storage and refurbished tennis courts. Construction is set to start in spring 2020 and to be complete in August 2021. The expansion will help the school house up to 2,000 students. Southridge High also is getting 12 classrooms and athletic facility improvements, including a 3,200-square-foot weight training facility and artificial turf to replace existing grass fields. Construction begins in spring 2020 and should be complete by

Kennewick High School demolition. Photo by Scott Butner Photography

August 2021. Both the Kamiakin and Southridge projects are estimated to cost $17 million each. In addition, $10 million has been allocated for the Tri-Tech Skills Center expansion. The project will add 16,000 square feet to the existing building to house the culinary arts and pre-physical therapy programs. There also will be an improved and more secure entrance area. Construction is set to start in October 2019 and should be complete by summer 2020. Other projects from the bond will come later, such as the remodel and replacement of Ridge View Elementary. It’s one of the smallest schools in Kennewick, with 20 classrooms and three portables. The planned expansion will enlarge

it to 30 classrooms, at a cost of $30 million. Construction begins in summer 2023 with completion by August 2024. And elementary school No. 18, a $30 million school with 30 classrooms, will be built in a high-growth area of Kennewick yet to be determined. Potential sites include the Badger Mountain South area or to the west of Southridge High School. The timeline is between 2022-25. The district recently completed projects paid for with its 2015 bond. The Mid-Columbia Partnership, in which the gymnasium from the old Desert Hills Middle School was renovated to meet the needs of the program that supports home-schooled students and families, opened in January 2019, at a cost of $6.7 million.

The Keewaydin Discovery Center opened in January 2019 with four additional classrooms, at a cost of $1.5 million. Legacy High School students moved into a remodeled former City Church property in April 2019. The district spent $3.5 million on the 18,000-square-foot building that serves 250 students throughout the district. And finally, the first phase of the Amistad Elementary School project—a new detached addition of 22 classrooms, a gym and offices—was finished in August 2019. The building is for students in grades 3-5. The second phase—in which the old school will become a new 20-classroom school for grades K-2—began in spring 2019 and is scheduled to be complete in August 2020. “The project costs for Amistad Phase 1 and 2 have been updated based on the accepted bids,” said Robyn Chastain, district spokeswoman. “Phase 1 is $14.1 million and Phase 2 is $14.7 million.” More growth, and with it more schools, continues to be in the forecast for the Kennewick School District, according to the district’s Capital Facilities Plan for 2018-28. The district plans eight more renovations or new middle and elementary schools between 2025-29, with estimated project costs ranging from $28 million to $45 million. This is, of course, is pending school board approval. “Based on the current 10-year Capital Facilities Plan, the district would need to run another bond in 2025,” Chastain said.

Pasco School District

Pasco School District’s new $27.3 million Three Rivers Elementary welcomed students in August 2019. More big school construction projects are underway: • Columbia River Elementary, a $28.5 million school with

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 49

72,000 square feet. Construction began in May 2019. The school is expected to open in August 2020. • The replacement of Stevens Middle School with a newer school on the same campus. The $39.7 million school will have 106,000 square feet and be ready for students in August 2021. Construction began in August 2019. • Ray Reynolds Middle School, a $46.5 million school with 115,000 square feet. Construction started in April 2019. The school will open in August 2020. “I have had three schools at the same time before,” said Randy Nunamaker, executive director of the district’s Capital Projects Department. “But I have never had three schools of this size. It’s a total of almost 300,000 square feet between the three. It helps that Stevens and Reynolds are virtually the same design. And Columbia River is the same design as Three Rivers.” In addition, part of the 2017 bond pays for $900,000 in safety and security improvements at the front entrances of several schools. “We believe it’s necessary in this day and age,” Nunamaker said. Also earmarked in the budget is $800,000 for roofing projects at several schools. As the district continues to add more students, it also requires more buses to take them to and from school. And more buses mean more maintenance. A portion of the 2017 bond included money for adding two new pull-through bus mechanic bays, replacing the transportation office and drivers’ areas with a single, insulated metal building and updating the current maintenance facility.

Columbia River Elementary School off Burns Road Pasco. Photo by Scott Butner Photography

At the time of the bond vote, the district had 162 buses and three bays. Pasco had a 47-to-1 bus-to-bay ratio, compared to 25-to-1 in Kennewick and 20-to-1 in Richland. Total cost of the maintenance bays are $1.6 million, and the transportation facility’s estimated cost is $1.4 million. “Hopefully, we can start in the spring (2020) on those projects,” Nunamaker said. Another part of Nunamaker’s job is to find more land for the

district for future schools. “We’re working on it,” he said. Asked if there were plans to have another bond in the near future, he says it’s possible. “The board is planning for another high school,” he said. It would be the district’s third big high school, complete with a gym and athletic facilities, with room for 2,000 students. The district and school board are reviewing when a future bond could be put before voters—it could be as early as

Richland School District's Teaching, Learning and Administrative Center construction at 6972 Keene Road in West Richland. | Photo by Shawna Dinh

the fall 2020. Other options include replacing or improving older schools and facilities.

Richland School District

The remaining project from Richland School District’s 2013 voter-approved bond was completed in September 2019, said Richard Krasner, the district’s executive director of support services. The multiyear renovation transformed the 1982 wing of the old Jefferson Elementary into an Early Learning Center to serve preschoolers. The first phase was completed in August 2019 for $264,000. The second phase was completed in September 2019 and included an expanded parking lot, which cost $1.2 million. Now, the district is tackling projects funded by the 2017 bond. The $17.5 million elementary school off Belmont Boulevard in West Richland, known as Elementary No. 11, was completed in August 2019, and it 52 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

welcomed the students from Tapteal Elementary. The old Tapteal school, also in West Richland, has been torn down to be rebuilt during the 2019-20 school year. This new $19.9 million school will be ready for students to move back in August 2020. When the Tapteal students return to their home school, Elementary No. 11 will welcome Badger Mountain Elementary students for the 2020-21 school year while its school is replaced. It’s at the same site as the old one, with a project completion date of August 2021. A 12th elementary school also is planned in south Richland, near the Badger Mountain South residential development off Dallas Road. A timeline for this school has not been set. Meanwhile, work has begun on a $9.4 million Richland High auditorium renovation. The district began the design process in spring 2019. The permitting process begins in winter 2020, with the project completion set for July 2021.

Krasner said everyone seems to be happy with the plan. “We’re going to gut the interior,” Krasner said. “We’ll remove all of the seats. We’ll make some aisle way, have better (Americans with Disabilities Act) access. We’ll also be adding bathrooms—more for women—and change the stage.” Krasner said when school lets out in June 2020, construction should begin. Two other projects funded by the 2017 bond involve athletics. Fran Rish Stadium is getting home side improvements and installation of field turf, at a cost of $10 million. Programming and community input meetings were held in fall 2018. The design process begins in spring 2021, with the project set for completion by August 2023. Meanwhile, Hanford High is getting updated fields with artificial turf, a resurfaced track and a 2,000-seat grandstand with press box, new restrooms and concession building—a $6 million project.

In the spring 2020 the design process begins, and the project is expected to be completed in August 2022. The construction of the district’s new $11.6 million Teaching, Learning and Administrative Center, or TLAC, will be completed in September 2020. “It will be right next to Libby Middle School in West Richland,” Krasner said. In addition, Krasner is looking for land throughout the district for future schools. “We have eight acres out there for the TLAC,” Krasner said. “But we have over 72 acres of land out there. And I’m always looking for land as the district grows.” Krasner guessed the next bond could be either 2021 or 2023, depending on what the school board wants to do. But one thing the district needs to consider is building a third high school. “Both high schools are over 2,000 kids now,” he said. 

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 53

HIGHER EDUCATION New academic, rec buildings coming to Tri-City campuses BY JEFF MORROW


ontinued growth at the higher education campuses in the TriCities will be moving forward at a steady clip in the coming year. At Washington State University TriCities, the school is proceeding with plans to build a 40,000-square-foot academic building for undergraduate studies in biology, chemistry and education in science, technology and math—or STEM studies. Columbia Basin College is getting ready to move dirt on a new student recreation center in spring 2020.

TOP: Aerial photo of WSU Tri-Cities campus in Richland. BELOW: Renderings of the new academic building at WSU Tri-Cities. Courtesy WSU Tri-Cities

54 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

WSU Tri-Cities

Fall 2019 student enrollment at WSU Tri-Cities totaled 1,813, compared to 1,841 students the previous fall. Though overall enrollment dropped, the school saw gains in minority and

international student representation. The campus has the highest rate of minority enrollment at 42 percent, compared to 30.5 percent systemwide. The Richland campus’ big project will be its new academic building, which will house 12 labs for physics, biology, chemistry and anatomy/physiology, as well as two 96-seat classrooms and a central gathering area with stadium seating for large group presentations and community events. The $30.4 million project is funded by the state Legislature. The design phase has been completed for the yearlong building project. “It is a collaboration of ZGF Architects and Hoffman Construction Co.,” said Raymond White, vice chancellor of finance and administration for WSU TriCities. “As a design-build project, the general contractor has been on board since the beginning. Groundbreaking is expected to happen in April of 2020, with substantial completion in April of 2021.” Preliminary site work is to begin in October 2019. In September 2018, the school celebrated the opening of its expanded fitness center. It features cardio equipment, including treadmills, an elliptical machine, a stair stepper, stationary bikes and some standard weightlifting equipment. “(The expansion cost) is approximately $10,000,” said Randy Slovarp, WSU Tri-Cities campus facilities executive. “This includes some new equipment and repairs of existing equipment.” Students also can check out outdoor recreation equipment for the weekend. The first phase of WSU TriCities’ apartments on campus, known as the Brelsford Vineyards, have been open since August 2018. “Occupancy and interest is growing from our end,” said Chris Meiers, vice chancellor for student affairs and outreach.

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Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 55

The apartments are at the north end of campus and include one-, two-, three- and fourbedroom units. They 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. White said there will be other smaller capital projects on campus, including a pedestrian walkway, bus shelter and classroom remodels. White said WSU Tri-Cities is starting to look ahead at other possible capital projects in the next few years. “We are exploring designs for a remodel of our library to better engage students and support their academic success,” White said. “Some work could begin as early as June 2020.”

Columbia Basin College

Columbia Basin College’s fall 2019 student enrollment totaled 7,344, compared to 7,275 students the previous fall. Running Start students—high school students enrolled at the school for collegelevel classes—are counted in the student enrollment total. The big project coming up at CBC is a $30 million student recreation center, said Tyrone Brooks, vice president for administrative services at CBC. “We’re looking at an April groundbreaking,” he said. The facility, expected to be 77,000 square feet to 80,000 square feet, will be located where the school’s tennis courts sit, southwest of the gymnasium. CBC’s Associated Student Body approved the facility in a vote in the fall 2018. Features will include a smaller court with a dasher board system,

TOP: Rand Wortman Medical Science Center in Richland. Photo by Shawna Dinh RIGHT: Rendering of Columbia Basin College's new dental hygiene clinic. Courtesy CBC

an esports room for multiplayer video gaming, a basketball gymnasium that seats 1,000 to 1,200 people and a basketball practice court. On the second floor will be a fitness center and office space. An outdoor recreation center on the first floor will be available for students to check out tents, sleeping bags and other outdoor gear. Brooks said the school is working with RGU Architecture of Asotin, and Lydig Construction of Kennewick. “(RGU) has done work for us before (B Building rebuild, CTE building),” Brooks said. “We’ll be pulling (subcontractors) from the local markets.” Brooks expects early planning to begin in earnest in April 2020. “And we’ll go full bore on the project next June,” he said. “We expect to occupy fully in the fall of 2021.” The 1950s-era building housing the current basketball gymnasium will be torn down. “We’ll have to reconfigure some

parking spots,” Brooks said. “But we already have put in some temporary parking west of the softball and baseball fields for overflow.” In addition, the estimated $4.9 million renovation of the fourth floor of the Rand Wortman Medical Science Center at 940 Northgate Drive in Richland, across the street from the Richland Public Library, will be completed by January 2020. The project includes moving the dental hygiene program and clinic from Pasco to Richland. “Roughly the project took a year, start to finish,” Brooks said. “The big news is there is a lot more clinic space for patients.” CBC operates a low-cost clinic where students provide oral health care to 2,100 children, teens and adults each academic year. Brooks said future projects the school might start to look at are a possible replacement of the P building—“but that’s more like eight to 10 years down the road”—and possibly more classroom space. 

Focus | Construction + Real Estate in the Tri-Cities 57




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