Dilapidated Parkway property coming down

High-end cocktail bar, coffee shop likely tenants in building near fountain

Big plans are in the works for a building described as an eyesore in the heart of Richland’s The Parkway.

A group of six local investors with Prospere Ventures bought the property and hope to begin demolition soon to build a new building valued at more than $1.45 million.

“The building got caught up in a trust back in the day, and nothing’s been done with it,” said Kyle Kraemer, one of the investors with Prospere Ventures.

Pieces of the building’s exterior are falling off and its current appearance doesn’t align with the revitalization and entrepreneurial efforts that have been apparent in The Parkway in recent years with the addition and expansion of new and existing restaurants and other businesses.

Located at 702 The Parkway, the building backs up to George Washington Way and is immediately north of Greenies. It shares a courtyard with Frost Me Sweet, near the fountain.

Longtime residents say the property was once the home of a fine dining restaurant called The Brass Door before it was a restaurant named Coco’s and also a nightclub named Porky’s.

During its lifespan, some also knew the spot as “the red door” because it used to have a red, wooden door on the northern entrance that was a popular backdrop for high school students’ senior photos.

Prospere hoped to extensively renovate the building when it was first bought for $288,000 in 2014.

Once the group looked deeper into potential tenants and design, it determined the 1940s structure was too far gone to save and it would be cheaper to tear down and start over. The group is finalizing the financing needed to begin the project, which would start with a teardown.

A 5,500-square-foot, single-story building is planned in its place that could accommodate three tenants.

A rendering shows the new $1.45 million building proposed for 702 Parkway in downtown Richland. (Courtesy Meier Architecture Engineering)

Kraemer said the group has one lease signed and two letters of intent.

New designs drawn by Meier Architecture & Engineering include plans for a brick façade with metal awnings. The largest tenant would be a business or service organization, using about 2,000 square feet.

Kraemer isn’t revealing names of businesses quite yet, but says a “high-end cocktail bar” is planned for the second-largest space, bringing a “speakeasy” feel.

The smallest tenant unit is designated for a coffee shop, amounting to just a couple of hundred square feet in size.

“Some places in The Parkway serve coffee, but there’s not really a coffee shop,” Kraemer said.

Prospere Ventures received a $30,000 grant for building improvements from the city of Richland through its commercial improvement program in June. The money is allocated for $10,000 per entry to help local businesses improve their exterior appearance.

The city started with $55,000 in the program fund to spend during the 2019 calendar year, and at a June Economic Development Committee meeting, it awarded $30,000 for The Parkway project and $10,000 for improvements underway at the planned Dovetail Joint restaurant in Richland’s Uptown Shopping Center.

The money comes with the stipulation that improvements must be made by the end of 2019.

Kraemer’s team was familiar with the city program, having previously received $40,000 for the same building in 2015 for renovations that never materialized, and the allowance was relinquished back to the city’s fund.

City funds also were previously used for exterior improvements at Fuse SPC in The Parkway, a building that Prospere Ventures also co-owns. Additionally, Prospere investors are co-owners of the Gravis Law building on the Parkway’s north corner along Knight Street.

“We have a passion for the Tri-Cities, especially Richland and the Parkway,” Kraemer said.

Prospere Ventures’ intent is to have Booth & Sons Construction complete the shell of the building by the end of the calendar year and then have tenants take occupancy by spring 2020.

“There’s several of us born and raised here in Richland and we see the Parkway and the area down by the river as an iconic part of this town,” Kraemer said. “We want to make it the downtown of the Tri-Cities so that more people come down to experience Richland.”

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