Kennewick plans 2 open houses on convention center expansion

Meetings to provide public opportunity to learn about multimillion dollar project

Two open houses have been scheduled for Kennewick’s multimillion dollar public-private plan to expand the Three Rivers Convention Center with a theater and hotel—and possibly more development later.

The meetings are from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Sept. 30 and Oct. 17 at the Three Rivers Convention Center, 7016 W. Grandridge Blvd. in Kennewick.

The city council in September approved a $486,883 purchase and sales agreement for 3.56 acres adjacent to the convention center and Toyota Center with A-1 Pearl LLC for the development of a convention hotel to be connected to an expanded convention center.

A-1 Pearl, which is part of the Tri-City-based A-1 Hospitality Group that’s currently building the Courtyard by Marriott near the Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco, is led by Taran Patel and managed by Vijay Patel.

The deal, valued at $85 million, includes a $35 million investment from the city to expand the convention center with a 2,000-seat flex-space performing arts theater and add nearly 65,000 square feet and more parking.

The developer agrees to invest $50 million to build a seven-story convention hotel with a restaurant, spa and outdoor pool and 40,000-square-foot retail building. A-1 Pearl also is looking at whether it’s feasible to add an outdoor wedding venue area to the hotel.

The deal contains a two-year due-diligence period to allow both sides time to secure necessary financing and jointly begin the construction of the expansion of the convention center, hotel and retail component of the project.

A-1 Pearl is pursuing the federal EB-5 immigrant investor program for funding.

The agreement also allows the option to buy the adjacent property for the second phase, which would create residential, commercial and public spaces with water features and a boardwalk.

This $160 million investment includes three residential towers with 800 condominiums, up to 300,000 square feet of high-end shopping, restaurants and offices on the first two levels of the mixed-use development and underground parking for residents.

At the open house meetings, staff from the city of Kennewick and Kennewick Public Facilities District will provide information on the project vision, public and private investment components, economic impacts, the complementary nature of the project to the entertainment district and Vista Field re-development vision, and the financing needed.

The open houses will provide the public an opportunity to view concept renderings of the project, make comments and ask questions.

The city estimates $1 million in one-time local sales tax revenue and $105,000 in annual local sales tax revenue from the hotel with the first phase of the project, according to city documents.

Voters rejected a proposal to increase the sales tax by two-tenths of a percent to expand the convention center three times, in 2017, 2016 and 2013.

“The citizens rejected those measures and the feedback we received was that the community did not support the sales tax increase and felt there needed to be private development involved in the project,” according to city documents.

Conventions, trade shows and conferences contribute more than $21 million in direct spending and overall economic impact to the community of more than $31 million, according to city documents.

The city cited four groups that have outgrown the 75,000-square-foot Three Rivers Convention Center and five others that have indicated a need to seek another location if the facility isn’t expand

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