High-end living near Vista Field on the way

Developers planning luxury apartments with an ‘edge’

Longtime Tri-City commercial developers are planning their most ambitious project to date: a luxury apartment complex on 8.25 acres adjacent to Vista Field, across from Lawrence Scott Park in Kennewick.

Although the project is in its very early stages — the Chavallo family currently is looking for an architect — the vision already is there. They hope to build an urban oasis featuring multi-level buildings.

“We’d like to have a pool inside and outside, a volleyball court and a place to have barbecues, a clubhouse with a theater,” Jose Chavallo said. “If we can attract the right people, it could be a real fun place to live.”

Tammy and Jose Chavallo started out flipping houses when Jose was a firefighter and gradually made their way into commercial development. They own New Environment Corp.

They developed several well-known buildings, like Vista Engineering, Anderson Dental, Nouveau Day Spa, Tuscan Suites on Grandridge Boulevard and the Chavallo Complex on Deschutes Avenue.

Most of their developments feature a Tuscan or Mediterranean style but the proposed apartment complex will be different.

“We want something edgy, and new, and to be competitive,” Jose said.

Plans to develop the land have been nearly nine years in the making. The Chavallos bought five acres in 2010 with the idea to build a $10 million veterans facility, but zoning restrictions at the time did not allow for it.

They gradually added more acres and ideas about how to best develop the land. They’ve researched different commercial projects for the land, including a mini storage facility. They finally settled on a high-end apartment complex, which Jose said would complement the vision already underway for Vista Field — but they needed the city to amend its comprehensive plan and zoning requirements to allow for high-density residential development in the area. The area had been previously zoned for residential low.

That came earlier this year in March. According to zoning restrictions, they can build up to 224 units.

“We wanted to lead with this idea of creating a place where residents could work, live, and play, ride bicycles to work and be near shopping,” Jose said. “I’ve been joking with this idea that you want to live in the best but pay like the rest, be proud of where you live and enjoy Vista Field’s vision.”

“We would just like to add something to their vision,” Jose said. “The port is already doing a great job.”

Construction is underway to turn the former Vista Field airport into a 103-acre pedestrian-focused urban center. The first shovel-ready parcels are expected to be made available through the Port of Kennewick to private-sector developers by spring 2020.

“We’re trying to develop a town center,” said Thomas Moak, president of the Port of Kennewick Commission. “The more density and opportunity to create a town center within that district is a positive thing for the community and for Vista Field.”

Moak said he had sent letters to the city in support of developing Chavallo’s property even before his role on the port commission and he’s excited to see more from the developer.

“For potential shops and businesses, the more residents there are around with disposable income to spend in the area and can walk to businesses from (Chavallo’s) property, that is within the vision of the Port of Kennewick,” Moak said.

Vista Field is listed as an opportunity zone or a special designated census tract where certain investments are eligible for preferential federal tax treatment.

Jose moved here with his family more than 50 years ago from Sunnyside where his family lived and worked as field workers. After school, he joined the military and then worked as a firefighter for the Hanford Fire Department until 2000, when he and his wife decided to focus full time on building and developing.

Both their children, Chanel and Jordan Chavallo, also have joined the family business. They have one employee and a civil engineer. They usually build about one to two commercial buildings a year and some custom homes. They hope to break ground on the project no later than the first quarter of 2020.

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