Developer plans to end north Richland’s coffee desert

A Bellevue-based developer is converting a north Richland building into a coffee shop to serve residents and workers near the PNNL campus.

IC University Square LLC plans to apply for permits to reconfigure the building in January, with a tentative opening date in mid-2022.

The LLC is associated with Shotgun Creek Investments, a real estate-focused private equity firm led by Doug Perry. It owns 300-plus apartment units in two nearby complexes and other properties in the Innovation Square area south of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

David Plotts, project manager, said interior demolition began in spaces formerly occupied by Gesa Credit Union and Ethos Bakery. The property, 800 Dalton St., is near University and Stevens drives and is also home to Shogun Teriyaki & Sushi.

Banlin Construction Co. LLC is the contractor.

The former Gesa space will be remade into a traditional coffee shop. The former Ethos space will provide room for gatherings, meetings, get-togethers and study groups. The wall has been breached to connect the two.

The two spaces have a combined area of about 4,000 square feet

Plotts said he has interviewed several coffee shop operators to take over the space, but has not decided about the eventual tenant.

“We’re forging forth on the expectation that we’ll find a good fit,” he said.

Plotts said the company is investing in the 2013-built building – $300,000 according to a demolition permit for the interior work – after surveying tenants of its nearby office and apartment properties.

The results were clear: The area is a coffee desert.

Tenants complained that they had to drive to get a cup of coffee. The nearest Starbucks is at the Safeway-anchored strip mall at George Washington Way and McMurray Street. Other coffee stands are on Highway 240, on the way to Horn Rapids, several miles away.

Creating a coffee shop closer to Innovation Center will fill a desired need, Plotts said.

It is intended to cater to tenants as well as those who work at PNNL, Washington State University Tri-Cities, Hanford contractors, the Port of Benton and Hanford High School. In the longer term, it will anchor the owner’s long-term plans for the undeveloped portion of the property it holds.

Plott said the owners are contemplating developing townhomes in the area and light industrial.

It developed and owns The Lofts at Innovation Center and The Commons, upscale apartment complexes with about 150 units each. It also leases an office building to PNNL and an office/storage building to WSU Tri-Cities.

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