Real Estate & Construction Briefs – December 2020

Men’s Wearhouse exits bankruptcy, Pier 1 returns?

Tailored Brands Inc., parent to Men’s Wearhouse and other clothing lines for men, has exited bankruptcy as a private company.

Tailored is one of many national brands with a Tri-City presence to file for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code this year.

The company filed in August after announcing it would close 500 stores. The case proceeded in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.

The reorganization eliminated
$686 million of debt from its balance sheet, it said.

Its Kennewick store is at 7500 W. Quinault Ave. in Columbia Square.

In other bankruptcy news, Pier 1 Imports may have shuttered its brick-and-mortar stores, including one in Kennewick, but it appears poised to return as an online retailer.

Chain Store Age, which tracks the retail industry, reports Miami-based Retail Ecommerce Ventures submitted the winning bid of $6 million to buy the intellectual property of Pier 1’s parent, Stein Mart Inc., in a bankruptcy auction. REV will relaunch Pier 1 in 2021, it reported.

Tariff cut is good news for homebuilders

The U.S. Department of Commerce halved import duties on Canadian softwood in early December, welcome news for the homebuilding industry.

The government cut tariffs to about 9% from more than 20%, citing the impact of fluctuating lumber prices on affordable housing.

The move was based on a review of countervailing subsidies levied on Canadian softwood manufacturers determined to have received subsidies between April 28, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2018.

The decision was published Dec. 1 in the Federal Register.

The chairman of the National Association of Home Builders applauded the move but called for more steps to curb lumber prices.

Chuck Fowke called it a “positive development” but noted price volatility has pushed up the cost of new home construction, affecting affordability.

NAHB noted the Random Lengths Framing Composite Price has dropped since mid-September but is still 60% higher than it was in April.

Grant expands rental options for low-income Washingtonians

A $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will fund a new rental housing program serving extremely low-income people with disabilities in Washington.

The state Department of Commerce is one of seven to receive the HUD grants.

The state said the grant will double the capacity of its program and support about 260 rental units statewide for people in need ages 18-64.

Fred Meyer parent cracks top e-tailer list

Fred Meyer’s Cincinatti-based parent, Kroger Corp., has cracked the list of the top e-tailers by sales for the first time.

Kroger ranked ninth with more than $11 billion in systemwide sales. The top e-commerce companies as ranked by eMarketer and republished by Chain Store Age were Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Apple, The Home Depot, Best Buy, Target, Wayfair and Costco.

$1.1M Dollar General store coming to Benton City

Simon CRE Insight has filed a permit to build a $1.1 million Dollar General store at 210 Second St. in Benton City.

The 9,100-square-foot store is on 1.42 acres. It is scheduled to open in summer 2021 and employ six to 10 people.

Dollar General opened its first store in the state in Cathlamet this spring.

The Goodlettsville, Tennessee, company (NYSE: DG) operates 16,720 retail stores in 46 states. The company reported net sales increased 17.3% to $8.2 billion in the third quarter 2020, compared to $7 billion in the third quarter 2019. It also reported its operating profit increased 57.3% to $773.1 million

Scottsdale, Arizona-based Simone CRE Insight is a commercial real estate development company.

The contractor for the Benton City project is Collaborative Construction Solutions.

Columbia Center adds retailers for the holidays

Hickory Farms, See’s Candies Gift Center and Concept Men’s have opened at Kennewick’s Columbia Center mall in time for the holidays.

Food sellers Hickory Farms and See’s are both pop-up stores for the season.

Concept Men’s is a new retailer located across from the food court between Concept Women’s and GameStop. The store specializes in the latest on-trend clothing as well as accessories, footwear and swag.

Mall hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Go to for information about in-person shopping as well as curbside pickup, in-store pickup and appointments.

STCU cleared to buy Umpqua branches

STCU has expanded to 29 branches after regulators signed off on its plan to convert four Eastern Washington Umpqua Bank branches into STCU.

The former Umpqua branches at Medical Lake, Ritzville, Coulee City and Othello were converted to the STCU brand in early December. Employees were offered positions. Also, ATMs were swapped with those operated by STCU.

The Spokane-based credit union will convert the 5,000 Umpqua customers to the STCU family following approval by the National Credit Union Association, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Washington State Department of Financial Institutions.

STCU serves 210,000 members and operates branches in the Tri-Cities, Spokane area, Columbia Basin, and north Idaho.

Walla Walla leads nation for construction job gains

Walla Walla led the nation for posting the largest increase in construction gains in the past year, according to a report from Associated General Contractors.

Walla Walla gained 300 jobs for a nation-leading 25% gain, followed by Lewiston, Idaho, 300 jobs or 18%; Oshkosh-Neena, Wisconsin, 900 jobs or 16%; Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, 500 jobs or 15%; and Springfield, Missouri, 1,400 jobs or 15%.

Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas, added the most construction jobs overall at 7,100 or 5%, followed by Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, 4,700 jobs or 4%; Kansas City, Missouri, 3,700 jobs or 12%; and Boise, 3,500 jobs or 13%.

Only 30% of U.S. markets gained construction jobs, AGC said.

The biggest job losers were Houston, Texas, New York City, Montgomery-Bucks-Chester counties, Pennsylvania, and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

AGC sues to block PPP rule change

The Associated General Contractors of America filed a suit on Dec. 8 seeking to block changes to the questionnaire used to reassess if companies were eligible for Paycheck Protection Program loans under the CARES Act.

The Small Business Administration and the Office of Management and Budget are seeking to make the change, which the AGC said has ramifications for companies seeking PPP loans or forgiveness.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asserts the process that produced the form and the form itself violate the Paperwork Reduction Act and the Administrative Procedures Act.



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