It’s go time for Pasco’s Osprey Pointe market

James Sexton is taking meetings with prospective vendors and ordering a pole building that will form the heart of an ambitious marketplace at Pasco’s Osprey Pointe.

Sexton, president of JMS Development, has a development agreement with the Port of Pasco to install the equivalent of a small city on the port-owned waterfront in east Pasco.

The port selected JMS Development to fulfill its dream of an economically vital Osprey Pointe after a previous deal fell apart. It has a letter of intent for a phased mixed-use development and a master development agreement to lease and/or sell the land to JMS.

Sexton is starting with the marketplace and will add the other features in coming years.

The marketplace is being built first for the simplest of reasons: Osprey Pointe already has the commercial zoning to accommodate it.

It will take several more months for the city of Pasco and Franklin County to complete the zoning work that needs to happen for homebuilding. Sexton said he’s eager to start building houses and condos – the inventory of homes for sale in the Tri-Cities is far below the level needed to keep up with demand.

Regardless, the port is thrilled to see it begin.

“It’s exciting to work with a local developer who shares our vision for this property and is willing to create something special at Osprey Pointe,” said Jim Klindworth, president of the port commission.

Sexton said development will be privately funded with a combination of private investment and construction loans. He’s applied for grants and low-cost Covid-19 recovery loans as well.

“This is not a taxpayer-funded project,” Sexton said.

Broadmark Capital, a $1.5 billion Seattle-based real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on development loans, is expected to support the $100 million undertaking with a loan. Matt Bullis, Broadmark’s representative in Eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana, is so bullish that he’s joining Sexton as an investor as well.

Courtesy JMS Development

The Tri-City native is thrilled that Sexton is bringing waterfront living to the region’s most important feature – the Columbia River.

“I could ramble about it for 20 minutes I’m so excited about it,” he said. “(Sexton) is using the Tri-Cities riverfront the way it should have been used these past 20 years.”

The 76,000-square-foot market will offer 120 booths of varying sizes.

“There’s a huge need for a gathering place like this,” Sexton said.

Sexton anticipates leasing booth space to local business owners who were wiped out by the Covid-19 pandemic and need a low-cost way to get back in business.

“We’re talking about $1,200-$1,500 a month or less, depending on the size you need,” he said.

The port and the Pasco Chamber of Commerce occupy an office building at the center.

The existing entrance at East Ainsworth and South Oregon avenues will be the main access point.

Osprey Pointe will have 600 dwellings, including a mix of condominiums and single-family homes that will cater to entry-level buyers.

There is room for up to 200,000 square feet of commercial space, a hotel, a 55+ residential community and an indoor event space with room for 1,000.

The indoor event venue is coupled with an outdoor stage and amphitheater formed from soil excavated for the complex’s underground parking.

When it’s not booked, the outdoor theater will host movies.

“We’re trying to give the Tri-Cities more culture,” Sexton said.

Osprey Pointe is a major economic development initiative for Pasco.

The marketplace alone will employ an estimated 450 people including vendors.

Sexton expects to employ 300 at Osprey Pointe to maintain and manage the property, including its various amenities. He intends to self-manage the project, though he said he may enlist a professional property management firm during the development and startup phases.

The hotel will operate under a national brand under a franchise deal. Sexton knows who he wants, but no deal has been made.

Sexton is a lifelong Tri-Citian who has long wanted to create a community on the water at Osprey Pointe.

“I’ve always through that was a good use of space and what better place to do that than on the water,” he said.

Sextons’ vision is to create a self-contained community in east Pasco, but he’s mindful of the close relationship to downtown, which will soon be closer when the city reroutes Lewis Street over the railroad yard.

“We want to be with Pasco,” he said.

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