Real Estate & Construction Briefs – January 2021

Hanford facility ready for testing as construction wraps

The Low-Activity Waste Facility at Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant is ready for testing after workers completed construction of the last 94 systems at the site.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of River Protection and contractor Bechtel National Inc. said workers hit the key milestone in December. Completing construction of the nearly 100 systems that comprise the low-activity waste facility sets the stage to begin startup testing.

Systems include a mechanical line for moving empty containers below melters where they will be filled with tank waste that has been vitrified or transformed into glass.

About a third of the systems have been tested and turned over to plant managers to be commissioned and put to use.

The next step is to begin startup testing for the Low-Activity Waste Facility itself. DOE and Bechtel National expected to reach that goal in late 2020.

“The perseverance of our entire team this year has been amazing to get where we are today,” said Valerie McCain, project director and senior vice president of Bechtel. “This accomplishment wouldn’t have been possible without our entire team’s commitment to quality, safety, and progress.”

Real estate pros bring new model to Tri-Cities

Jeff Smart and Dave Shinabarger, Tri-City real estate brokers, have launched a HomeSmart Elite Brokers franchise model to the Tri-Cities. The office is at 636 N. Colorado St., Kennewick, and can be reached at 509-371-9085.

Under the HomeStart brokerage model, agents retain 100% of the commissions they earn working on real estate transactions. Agents pay a monthly membership fee to belong to the HomeStart system and a $300 fee for each transaction.

Jeff Smart previously launched Smart Realtors in 1968.

HomeSmart Elite will open a new office in 2021 and aims to enlist 100 local real estate professionals in its first year.

HomeSmart International is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, and operates 190 offices in 35 states.

Kennewick reopens Numerica Pavilion

The Numerica Pavilion at the Southridge Sports Complex will reopen for limited use.

The city of Kennewick is opening the pavilion under Washington’s new Roadmap to Recovery plan, which allows appointment-based fitness and training for two people for up to 45 minutes.

Users can rent a half court for $10 for 45 minutes, from 2-7:45 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3:45 p.m. Saturdays.

Social distancing and proper mask use are enforced.

Go to

Astria Health selling Yakima hospital and medical plaza

Astria Health plans to sell its now-closed Yakima hospital and associated medical plaza as its ongoing bankruptcy case comes to an end.

Astria disclosed the $20 million sale to Yakima MOBIC LLC, a newly established real estate investment concern, in court filings in December.

If approved, the deal will cover the buildings, parking lots and all non-attached furniture, fixtures and fittings.

Astria Health filed for bankruptcy in 2019 after it failed to secure new financing to support the 214-bed hospital, noting it lost more than $40 million on the hospital after purchasing it in late 2017. Astria’s smaller hospitals in Sunnyside and Toppenish remained open.

The case was open but awaiting a confirmation hearing on the reorganization plan in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Eastern Washington in late December.

Bankruptcy documents are posted online at

Is your office HVAC system safe? L&I offers tips

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries has compiled a one-page paper to help building operators reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus through HVAC systems.

Go to to review the guidance.

The handout covers basic HVAC questions to guide how to manage ventilation to reduce the spread of the virus that causes Covid-19. It recommends regular maintenance, not reusing exhaust air and ensuring ceiling fans pull air up rather than pushing it down.

Governor extends eviction moratorium

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee extended a moratorium on evictions to March 31, citing the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The moratorium bars landlords from evicting tenants unable to pay rent because of the pandemic.

The proclamation extends rental assistance programs.

Yakama Nation sues to block sale of National Archives building

The Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation and a consortium of state and tribal groups filed a federal lawsuit Jan. 4 to stop the sale of the national archives facility in Seattle and the relocation of critical records held there to Kansas City, Missouri, and Riverside, California.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington and names the Office of Management and Budget, the General Services Administration and the National Archives and Records Administration as codefendants.

The suit alleges that, among other things, the federal agencies failed to consult with sovereign tribal governments about the move in violation of the Treaty of June 9, 1855.

The suit says the proposed building sale ignores the interest of the people with the greatest interest in the records held in Seattle including tribal and treaty records, cases filed under the Chinese Exclusion Act and records related to Japanese American internment during World War II.

The suit claims the archives facility is exempt from being sold under the Federal Assets Sale and transfer Act.

The archives at 6125 Sand Point Way NE “contains the DNA of our region,” the suit claims.

Resources to use before reopening dormant building

The Washington State Department of Health is advising building operators to proceed with caution before reopening buildings that have been idled by Covid-19 restrictions and safety measures.

Enduring closures lead to increased risk of legionella in plumbing systems.

Contact Steve Deem in the Office of Drinking Water for additional information at

For guidance on legionella and building water systems, go to

For information about drinking water safety, go to

For CDC guidance on safely reopening a building in the context of Covid-19, go to:


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