Investors plan to build four-story building in downtown Kennewick

A new high-end mixed-use building will be under construction next year in downtown Kennewick.

The new 12,000-square-foot building will house retail and restaurant space on the first floor, built-to-suit office spaces on the second floor, and 33 one- to two-bedroom luxury apartments on the third and fourth floors. The rooftop deck will feature a common gathering space for tenants to socialize and get together.

The building will be designed by George Watson of Watson & Herres of Spokane Valley. It will feature a brick face exterior to retain the turn of century western aesthetics of downtown Kennewick — but the interior will be modern.

Investors Andrew Klein and Brian Griffith bought the property — which sits on .34-acre parcel on 20 N. Auburn St. — for $325,000.

We didn’t want to stand out, we want people to look at it and say that it’s a well-kept building that is 100 years old,” Klein said.

It’ll be an attractive space designed to entice people to live in the city’s historic downtown area, Klein said.

“In the last four or five years, downtown Kennewick is coming back up again and people want to live there.”

The front part of the building had been previously occupied by River Sands Distillery, and the back space had been left unoccupied since Leo’s Catering and Blue Moon Restaurant closed and the owners decided to retire.

Klein is a self-employed engineer specializing in building code consulting and Griffith is director of marketing and communications at the National Credit Union Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin.

Klein, who is originally from Baltimore and has been living in the Tri-Cities for more than 12 years, said he has consulted with multi-family developer clients on code and permitting issues in the past and decided it was time to do it himself.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said.

“I’ve always liked downtown Kennewick so I wanted to invest in it,” Klein said. “I liked working with the city, so when I saw that building come up for sale it made sense from that perspective. I also saw a lot of untapped potential.”

He said he was inspired by the city of Kennewick’s bridge to bridge plan, which allows for urban mixed use designated zoning between the cable and blue bridges, and as well as the Port of Kennewick’s work on the Columbia Gardens Wine and Artisan Village on Columbia Drive.

“The city and Port of Kennewick are investing a lot into revitalizing downtown Kennewick. There is a great opportunity for people to live in downtown, and now I think people want to live in a city, there are overall sustainability aspects people are looking for these days,” Klein said.“Eventually it would be nice to see zip cars and scooters, but some things have to happen first,” Klein said.

Klein said final designs and elevation plans for the building will be ready later this month.

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