Developers plan $5M solar-powered commercial building in west Pasco

A “green” office building will brighten and lighten up a busy west Pasco neighborhood, courtesy of green paint and green energy.

The Wrigley Place development is intended to be the first solar-powered commercial building in the Tri-Cities.

Developer Dennis Gisi said Wrigley Drive LLC is behind the $5 million investment on Wrigley Drive, just west of North Road 68, between the west Pasco branch of the Mid-Columbia Libraries and Lourdes Health.

The LLC was formed between his corporation, Gisi Investment Services; Jay Hendler, architect for the building; and Terry and Karen Gilmore, who own the property. Gisi owns the land next door that’s leased by Mid-Columbia Libraries.

With about 18,000 square feet across three levels, the only confirmed tenant so far is John L. Scott Real Estate, where Gisi is the owner and broker. Hendler is also a broker with the agency. The real estate agency currently is just a short distance away at 5109 N. Road 68 in a strip mall north of Yoke’s Fresh Market.

Gisi said he has letters of intent for about 45 percent of the available space, including a wine bar, and hopes to get another 5,000 square feet leased before starting construction. Remaining available square footage could be used for offices, retail or restaurants.

Gisi’s plans include a tight seven-month construction schedule to complete the work.

“It costs me over $100,000 a month in labor, so let’s get it done,” he said. He hopes to begin work before the end of the year, with proposed completion by the end of August.

Wrigley Place will be equipped with 286 solar panels to power electricity at the site.

“I wanted to do something a little different,” Gisi said. “We have never tried this before. Everybody is worried about our environment and so we decided what if we do something that is green energy. So we started checking into it and thought, ‘Well, let’s see what it takes and whether it can even be done for something this large, and whether it would be cost-prohibitive or cost-effective to do that.’ ”

The solar will be installed by Sunthurst Energy, a California-based company that has completed a number of commercial and residential solar projects in the Oregon towns of Pendleton, Athena and Milton-Freewater.

Gisi expects the solar panels to cost between $125,000 to $145,000, depending on federal tax incentives.

“At the time we decided to do it, there were tax credits available that are now being phased out, so we missed most of the financial benefit, but we still felt it’s a good marketing message and it shows people the owners of the building understand what it costs to lease space and the expense of doing it,” Gisi said.

Future tenants may benefit from the solar investment through reduced energy costs. “The goal is a net zero cost, meaning that it’s not guaranteed, and there could be an electrical bill, but hopefully minimal,” Gisi said. “My understanding from the PUD, and how that works, is that we’re not going to put in a battery system, but if you run a zero cost, or even over, then basically they store that credit for the next month. So in theory, if you are running that much power, at least the way it was explained to me, when heat might be more in the winter than air conditioning, you could use the credits at that time.”

The class A office space is expected to be offered for $20 a square foot, plus triple net, an agreement where the tenant agrees to pay all real estate taxes, building insurance and maintenance.

“There really isn’t class A office space available in Pasco,” Gisi said. “That whole professional office scene seems to be missing and we wanted to give people the opportunity to have a location in Pasco.”

Class A space is considered premier space in high-quality buildings, with rents above average for the area.

One tenant that would be welcome would be a title company, as Gisi points out there isn’t one in Franklin County, which poses an inconvenience for real estate agents.

The building’s third floor could be used for executive offices or as an event space. An outdoor plaza would connect the building with a future second building, planned as part of the project’s second phase.

“We want to create a nice space for people to congregate to with a plaza,” he said.

Pinnacle Engineering of Bend, Oregon, put the project together. CB Construction Inc. of LaGrande, Oregon, is the general contractor.

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