Port of Pasco: Industrial expansion targets open land

The Port of Pasco is set to become the home base for the largest milk protein facility in North America – employing hundreds of people with well-paying jobs at a new Darigold facility that will anchor the Reimann Industrial Center.

Darigold Inc. expects the project to employ more than 1,000. Those at the plant will include about 200 workers for the highly-automated, 400,000-square-foot facility, hiring technicians, machinists and programmers.

“The new jobs at the plant and the new jobs at dairy farms create extraordinary opportunities for Franklin County residents,” said Jim Klindworth, Port of Pasco commission president.

Darigold intends to buy half of the 300 acres available at Reimann, close to Highway 395, about a mile north of the Pasco Processing Center that’s home to Kenyon Zero Storage, Pasco Processing, Twin City Foods, Americold and FedEx, among others.

Darigold plans to produce a specialized protein powder and butter, with much of the factory’s output headed to the Pacific Rim.

At an expected construction cost of $500 million, it will become the largest private industrial development ever at the Port of Pasco. Site work likely will begin in 2022 with commercial production at the plant starting by early 2024.

The state’s $7.5 million commitment to infrastructure work helped assure the land sale went through.

Reser’s new facility

Reser’s Fine Foods is building a 250,000-square-foot processing plant at the Pasco Industrial Center 395.

The 90-acre plot was part of a single land deal just east of the Pasco Processing Center, where another Reser’s facility is located.

Reser’s Fine Foods is building a 250,000-square-foot food processing plant

at 5526 Capitol Ave. in Pasco. (Photo by Kristina Lord)

Reser’s Fine Foods is building a 250,000-square-foot food processing plant
at 5526 Capitol Ave. in Pasco. (Photo by Kristina Lord)

The port’s executive director, Randy Hayden, called it, “an opportunity we couldn’t pass up” and said the property “checks all the boxes with excellent road access and other utilities already in place.”

The port will retain 50 acres from the purchase, with Reser’s utilizing the remaining 40. The processing facility is expected to be done in 2022, bringing just over 300 jobs to a building more than twice the size of the current Reser’s property in Pasco, which is set to be “retooled.”

Serving smaller business

As the port has courted large food processors, it’s also found success with smaller businesses looking to locate nearby agriculture or food processing.

Hayden said the port sold out of all of the lots available in Foster Wells Business Park, a 50-acre area divided into 2- to 10-acre parcels, adjacent to the Pasco Processing Center, also off Highway 395.

“New facilities have been constructed and all the buildings are either up or in the process of going up,” Hayden said.

A large infrastructure project is taking place south of the processing facilities, adding $8 million in roads and storm water lines to support docks in the Big Pasco, Industrial Center.

“So many logistics operators are bringing in stuff and shipping out on trucks, so having docks and roads to support that is important,” Hayden said.

Osprey Pointe ready to fly

Infrastructure – specifically sewer and water – have delayed timelines for Osprey Pointe Marketplace, which also has been affected by pandemic.

“There were months we couldn’t reach the city because they were on a skeleton crew and could only respond to emergencies,” said James Sexton, Osprey Pointe developer and president of JMS Development.

“If it weren’t for Covid, we would have buildings up right now.”

The new target is late spring or summer 2022 for a public market at East Ainsworth Avenue and South Oregon Avenue.

The prefabricated, 76,000-square-foot metal building should arrive soon and the exterior will be embellished with wings that include a three-story add-on with a banquet room.

Osprey Pointe Marketplace will house up to 120 spots for local vendors and restaurants.

Described as a “loss leader” for the overall project, expected pricing for vendors will be as low as $25/day for a seasonal, weekend table, and up to $1,400/monthly for the largest space.

The banquet room will be marketed as a site for wedding receptions or other gatherings. The team is courting local artists to participate in a gallery on the site to showcase and sell their works without needing to rent and staff a booth.

“A student interested in art could work there to man the booth and split the costs between featured artists; and now we’re helping out a college student or high school student with a part- time job,” Sexton said.

Utility work should begin this fall with the marketplace’s foundation laid at the same time.

“That way, if winter comes early, we can keep building,” Sexton said.

The commercial piece is just a portion of the $100-million, decade-long project in east Pasco that’s expected to include 600 homes as well.

A recent zoning change by the city will pave the way for the first 33 detached townhomes, expected to be done by summer 2022, adding to the roughly 97,000 people who currently live in the port’s boundaries.

“They would own the land directly below the unit, and the homeowners association will maintain the lawn,” Sexton said.

At the north end of the port’s boundaries, a building owned by the city of Connell was recently transformed from a former medical office to the North Franklin Visitor Center.

Located at the south entrance of town, Connell’s mayor said, “it provides a rest break for travelers on Highway 395 and gives them the opportunity to learn about our city’s history, community events, local businesses and the other things that our city and surrounding areas have to offer.”

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