After more than 30 years at its Clearwater Avenue location, Benton-Franklin Title Co. has moved into a newly renovated, larger space at 510 N. Colorado St. in Kennewick where it will continue to provide “one stop” title and escrow services to the Tri-City community.
“We wanted to be out here in the Vista Field area because we feel this is the next big growth with the development of the airport, at least in Kennewick anyway. We want to be a part of that,” said Casey Hart, regional vice president.
He explained that many of their competitors and local real estate firms have offices on Kennewick’s west side, especially in the Grandridge Boulevard neighborhood.
“A lot of our clients are out in this area … which will make it more convenient and faster for them to come to their closings,” he said
The Port of Kennewick plans to redevelop the 103-acre Vista Field site into an urban, mixed-use, pedestrian focused area. Full build-out could take 20 years, depending on market demand, according to port officials.
Benton-Franklin Title Co. bought the one-acre property for $1.4 million. It formerly housed the Tri-Cities Kidney Center, a dialysis clinic.
Hart said he was attracted to the property’s ample supply of parking and the brick façade of the building, which he said is reminiscent of classic bank architecture. It’s also consistent with the aesthetic of their Olympia-based, and fourth generation family-owned parent company, Title Management’s other locations throughout the Northwest.
Hart said the company put about $800,000 into renovating the building. He figured that even having paid for the property and significant renovations that they still couldn’t have built a new facility from the ground up for as good of a price.
“They’ve turned it into an 8,000-square-foot office masterpiece,” said Derrick Stricker of NAI Tri-Cities, who brokered the building sale.
Don Johnson, a Seattle-based general contractor who does the work on all of Title Management’s locations, according to Hart, completed the renovation of the new office and used all local subcontractors.
Melissa Hampton of Spokane-based MMEC Architecture and Interiors helped with the redesign of the space, which now features an overhauled lobby with refreshments bar and TV for waiting customers, as well as four escrow closing offices and four offices for the company’s escrow officers bridged by an open concept “hub” space.
The hub will serve as a gathering place for Benton-Franklin Title’s 16 staff members to hold company meetings and celebrate successes.
A sales office, title and production area, file storage room, additional bathrooms and a break room round out the new facilities, which offer plenty of natural light.
The remaining 3,000 square feet they’ve leased out to Kadlec on a three-year lease to house three nephrologists, or doctors who specialize in kidneys.
“It’s a larger space where we have room to grow,” Hart said, adding that as the Tri-City area continues to expand, so does their customer base. He also anticipates hiring more employees in the future.
Benton-Franklin Title Co. originally opened in Pasco in 1976 before moving to Kennewick to a larger building, and then again in 1982 across the street into 6,000 square feet at 3315 W. Clearwater Ave., Suite 100, and has remained locally owned and operated to this day.
Hart said what sets Benton-Franklin Title Co. apart from other companies is that its office configuration differs from the industry status quo.
“A lot of title companies have separate offices for title and escrow, but I don’t like that; I like everybody to be together under one roof. This maintains continuity in workflow so that we can always have that face-to-face to solve a problem. It’s better for the customer and more efficient. Plus, we don’t have to buy two buildings,” he said.
“Our customers are everything to us,” Hart went on. “With eight title companies in the Tri-Cities, that’s really the only thing that’s going to separate you between us and them is service.”
Hart, who also oversees the Walla Walla office, said Benton-Franklin’s most recent move to North Colorado Street was a few years in the making and that it is in the process of selling the 16,000-square-foot building on Clearwater, which they own outright.
For more information on the 3315 W. Clearwater Ave. property, Hart asks prospective buyers to contact Scott Sautell at SVN Retter & Co.
An official ribbon-cutting and open house for the new office will be scheduled soon. “I’m excited about it and the staff’s excited,” Hart said.
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