Big plans are in the works for a building described as an
eyesore in the heart of Richland’s The Parkway.
A group of six local investors with Prospere Ventures bought
the property and hope to begin demolition soon to build a new building valued
at more than $1.45 million.
“The building got caught up in a trust back in the day, and
nothing’s been done with it,” said Kyle Kraemer, one of the investors with
Pieces of the building’s exterior are
falling off and its current appearance doesn’t align with the revitalization
and entrepreneurial efforts that have been apparent in The Parkway in recent
years with the addition and expansion of new and existing restaurants and other
Located at 702 The Parkway, the building backs up to George
Washington Way and is immediately north of Greenies. It shares a courtyard with
Frost Me Sweet, near the fountain.
Longtime residents say the property was once the home of a
fine dining restaurant called The Brass Door before it was a restaurant named
Coco’s and also a nightclub named Porky’s.
During its lifespan, some also knew the spot as “the red
door” because it used to have a red, wooden door on the northern entrance that
was a popular backdrop for high school students’ senior photos.
Prospere hoped to extensively renovate the building when it was first bought for $288,000 in 2014.
Once the group looked deeper into potential tenants and design, it determined the 1940s structure was too far gone to save and it would be cheaper to tear down and start over. The group is finalizing the financing needed to begin the project, which would start with a teardown.
A 5,500-square-foot, single-story building is planned in its
place that could accommodate three tenants.
Kraemer said the group has one lease signed and two letters
New designs drawn by Meier Architecture & Engineering
include plans for a brick façade with metal awnings. The largest tenant would
be a business or service organization, using about 2,000 square feet.
Kraemer isn’t revealing names of
businesses quite yet, but says a “high-end cocktail bar” is planned for the
second-largest space, bringing a “speakeasy” feel.
The smallest tenant unit is designated for a coffee shop,
amounting to just a couple of hundred square feet in size.
“Some places in The Parkway serve coffee, but there’s not
really a coffee shop,” Kraemer said.
Prospere Ventures received a $30,000 grant for building
improvements from the city of Richland through its commercial improvement
program in June. The money is allocated for $10,000 per entry to help local
businesses improve their exterior appearance.
The city started with $55,000 in the
program fund to spend during the 2019 calendar year, and at a June Economic
Development Committee meeting, it awarded $30,000 for The Parkway project and
$10,000 for improvements underway at the planned Dovetail Joint restaurant in
Richland’s Uptown Shopping Center.
The money comes with the stipulation that improvements must
be made by the end of 2019.
Kraemer’s team was familiar with the city program, having
previously received $40,000 for the same building in 2015 for renovations that
never materialized, and the allowance was relinquished back to the city’s fund.
City funds also were previously used for exterior
improvements at Fuse SPC in The Parkway, a building that Prospere Ventures also
co-owns. Additionally, Prospere investors are co-owners of the Gravis Law
building on the Parkway’s north corner along Knight Street.
“We have a passion for the Tri-Cities, especially Richland
and the Parkway,” Kraemer said.
Prospere Ventures’ intent is to have Booth & Sons
Construction complete the shell of the building by the end of the calendar year
and then have tenants take occupancy by spring 2020.
“There’s several of us born and raised here in Richland and
we see the Parkway and the area down by the river as an iconic part of this
town,” Kraemer said. “We want to make it the downtown of the Tri-Cities so that
more people come down to experience Richland.”
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