New riverside retail space under construction on George Washington Way

More coveted waterfront retail space will be available in early spring along Richland’s George Washington Way.

The new 11,062-square-foot strip mall will cater to retailers and restauranteurs.

Ground was broken in mid-August, and general contractor on the project, O’Brien Construction Company Inc., estimates a six-month construction period, with completion planned for February or March.

Company Vice President Zak O’Brien said the multi-tenant retail space will be a “vanilla shell” at full build-out, or in other words, unfinished inside.

“Unless between now and then tenants approach us to build out their space, which we will build and do improvements for them,” O’Brien said.

The building could accommodate up to seven tenants, according to a building permit filed with the city of Richland.

Russell C. Page Architects of Spokane designed the concrete block building, which will be similar in aesthetic to its next door neighbor, Hilton Homewood Suites.

“The architectural look of the facility will resemble the Hilton,” O’Brien said. “It will have a Tuscan-style look— tile roof, stucco-like wall appearance and natural rock.”

“I love that Tuscan design,” said property owner Dick Vandervert of Spokane-based Vandervert Developments. He said he has applied the style to other building projects throughout the region.

Hard costs for the project are valued at $1.5 million, though the total cost of the project, including soft costs, has yet to be estimated, Vandervert said.

O’Brien said the site has great east-side river frontage and the benefit of the “Hanford 500 coming through that corridor” daily, he said, referring to rush hour traffic coming to and from the Hanford Site.

An eight-story, high-end, condo complex with two stories of parking beneath were originally planned for the site at 1080 George Washington Way by Dick and his wife, Bonnie Vandervert.

The condos would have neighbored the former Waterford Condos, which were converted in 2015 to a Hilton Homewood Suites.

The construction of the condos had barely begun on the site when the economic recession hit in 2007-08, effectively bringing the project to a grinding halt. The site has seen no further activity until now.

O’Brien said the reason for the change of plans for the lot is that the Vanderverts stand to earn more of a return on investment with retail space.

“I think that retail is the best thing we can do,” agreed Vandervert, who went on to say the new shops will provide additional amenities for neighboring hotel guests. “We will have good services there for them. We only want tenants who will provide good services.”

So far, there are no confirmed tenants for the new building, but O’Brien did note there is active interest, including one Spokane-based business.

Vandervert said that leasing will be handled through Vandervert Developments and will be actively marketed once standing walls are erected.

O’Brien encourages prospective tenants to inquire, as other recent developments the company has worked on have filled up quickly prior to construction completion.

“I’m just really happy to do it for Dick and Bonnie. They’re great people. It’s going to be a beautiful addition to the G-Way corridor and Richland,” O’Brien said.

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