Tri-City developers pivot to garage condos and flex space

Tim Bush, a prominent Tri-Cities developer, is shifting gears again but not too far away from cars.

Bush, president of Bush Development, began in the car business and shifted into the car wash business. With the sale of the former Bush Car Washes to Arizona-based Mister Car Wash in 2020, he’s changed his focus to commercial development, with two distinct properties now under construction.

Both projects fall under his new business identity, “Fat Cat.” One offers upscale garage condominiums in central Richland and the other offers flexible workspaces in central Kennewick. Both are being developed in partnership with Bush’s sons, Blake and TJ.

“They’re too young to retire, and I probably am too,” he said.

He credits a close friend’s son for the “Fat Cat” name. The boy, then 6, pronounced him and his father “Fat Cats.” When pressed, the boy said he thought it sounded “super cool.”

His dad and Bush agreed.

His friend used the name for a garage condo in the Boise area. Tim Bush liked the idea and even built one but called it the War Room.

He liked the concept and began eying the Tri-Cities for spots to plant the Fat Cat flag. He found them in Kennewick and Richland.

The first is Fat Cat Suites, a $2.5 million project on Okanogan Place off Edison Street in Kennewick.

The project has six suites with glass fronts that can be used for storefront businesses or office-warehouse combinations. They are offered in “shell condition,” meaning none of the interior fixtures have been installed. Tenants can configure the 1,820-square-foot space to suit their needs.

Base rent is $2,500, with units available for $399,000.

Two have been leased with four still available.

The other project is Fat Cat Garages, a $4.9 million project that will offer space for sale or lease in a condominium-style ownership structure. Bush Development broke ground last fall on the 37-unit complex at 300 Wellhouse Loop.

The 2.5-acre spot is near Richland’s Harbor Freight Tools and Fred Meyer, with easy access to the bypass highway. It offers a single entrance and two exits for ease of movement.

Entry is secure and controlled by mobile phone.

The idea is to create a home-away-from-home for recreational vehicles, boats, hot rods or general storage, including wine. The minimum length is 42 feet, which can accommodate most trailers, he said.

Bush installed a temperature control system and each unit can be adapted to include a bathroom. Eight units are designed as drive-thrus. Prices begin at $189,000. Although the intent is to sell the units, they can be leased monthly for $1,250 and up, depending on size.

Bush said the idea is similar to an upscale airplane hangar in offering a comfortable space to gather, chat and work on hobbies.

Bush said the idea is to create a space for people who don’t have enough garage space at home.

“There’s not a lot of garage space in the Tri-Cities,” he said. “Most residential homes – a few cars and it is full.”

Hummel Construction & Development LLC is the general contractor.

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