West Richland: More homes going up on west end of town

West Richland continues to grow west.

The city of 17,410 residents has added 5,600 people in the past 12 years and more homes are coming.

In 2021, the city issued 205 permits for single-family homes, more than in the combined three years prior.

There are 4,200 new homes in the pipeline in the planning or site development stage, or under construction as of mid-September. They’re a combination of single- and multifamily, and 3,000 of them are in the Lewis & Clark Ranch area.

This future development of 8,000 acres of farmland is just north of Ruppert Road, and the growing Heights at Red Mountain Ranch development off Highway 224/Van Giesen Street.

The Lewis & Clark Ranch land, owned by Frank Tiegs LLC, is generally located south of the Yakima River. The site is south of East McWhorter Lane and west of North Harrington Road. Much of its western border is adjacent to the river.

To accommodate this influx of new homes, the city needs to double the capacity of its existing wastewater treatment plant. Developer impact fees will help to pay for the expansion.

Future development is expected to occur in phases, with the first phase likely adding 3,000 homes on 750 acres at the southwest corner of the site.

Eric Mendenhall, the city’s community development director, said the city is excited about creating a walkable and livable community there.

“This is a good time to be out in front of planning efforts on it,” he said, saying the development will provide additional housing, parks, jobs and recreational options for residents.

Homes and streets are still going in at The Heights at Red Mountain Ranch, an Aho Construction development.

The Watermark development, just off Paradise Way, will add 190 new homes on 10,000-square-foot hillside lots. Construction is likely to begin in 2023.

“They’ll have gorgeous views of the valley,” Mendenhall said.

He said rising interest rates may push more people into multifamily housing, but he said the need is there.

“We’ll continue to see growth happening,” he said.

Commercial development

Mendenhall is hopeful that if Richland School District voters approve a bond for a West Richland high school in 2023 more commercial development will come to the Belmont Boulevard area.

Though the district has not yet finalized plans to put a bond before voters, it has earmarked property near West Richland’s Libby Middle School off Keene Road and Belmont for the school.

More neighbors should be moving to the area soon.

The city expected to close a deal on a 1-acre parcel with Dutch Bros. in fall 2022. The coffee chain wants to build a drive-thru coffee stand near Libby. Mendenhall expects it to open in 2023. The long line of cars regularly queuing up at Libby to pick up or drop off students likely are target customers, he said.

The city decided to carve up a 4-acre parcel, across the street from its municipal services building, into four 1-acre lots as there seemed to be more developer interest in the smaller size, Mendenhall said.

Sun Pacific Energy recently opened a Firehouse Subs-anchored Sun Market convenience store and gas station at 6255 Keene Road. 

HAPO Community Credit Union has plans to open a branch next door to the Sun Market, at 3100 Belmont Blvd.

Further west on Keene, Cooperative Way, a new road to accommodate Benton REA’s future administrative offices, is under construction just off Keene Road near the new West Richland police station.

Framing is underway for a strip mall that will be home to an urgent care clinic at the intersection of Bombing Range Road and Paradise Way in West Richland. (Photo by Scott Butner Photography)

Construction is underway on an urgent care-anchored strip mall in front of Gesa Credit Union at Bombing Range Boulevard and Paradise Way. Three Rivers Family Medicine, a Richland primary care clinic, plans to open a walk-in urgent care center serving patients in West Richland and points west in 2023.

The $2.7 million Bombing Range Plaza also will be home to Shannon’s Grooming, a dog grooming boutique, and the neighborhood’s first Papa Murphy’s Take ‘n’ Bake Pizza shop.

JLW Asset Management LLC – Lori and Jeff Wenner of Richland are the principals – paid $1.3 million for the 2 acres between Smitty’s Paradise Gas and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across the street from the plaza development.

The couple plan to build three buildings. One will be for a drive-thru/walk-in coffee shop, Swigg Coffee, and upscale salon. They’re actively recruiting other tenants.

They expect to begin construction in 2023.

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