Word that Costco likely will anchor new development at Pasco’s Broadmoor Boulevard would normally be one of the year’s top business stories. But 2021 is shaping up as one for the records as one eye-popping development deal after another breaks in Pasco.
Collectively, new development at Broadmoor coupled with at least three new food processors and a pair of distribution warehouses each more than 1 million square feet promise to transform Pasco, a city that has long braced for at least 50,000 newcomers by 2038.
The latest round of new development will easily top $1 billion and bring thousands of jobs to the community. Pasco, the city boasted in a recent press release, is the envy of economic developers across the region.
At Broadmoor, the area along Road 100, the city acknowledges Costco is expected to occupy the northwest corner of Broadmoor Boulevard and the future extension of Sandifur Parkway. The company itself has not yet confirmed its plans for a second Tri-Cities location and did not respond to a request for comment.
The other top deals include a new Darigold Inc. plant, a new Reser’s Fine Foods plant, a new Local Bounti greenhouse complex, the Port of Pasco’s Osprey Point mixed-use development agreement and even the city’s own Lewis Street Overpass project.
On top of that, Ryan Companies, a Bellevue developer, has begun construction on one of two distribution warehouses near Sacajawea State Park that will rank among the largest buildings in the state.
The Association of Washington Business said it will highlight Pasco’s successes during its annual Manufacturing Week tour of the state in October.
Dave Zabell, Pasco city manager, asked if the city is having a “pig in a python” moment, replied that it’s more like a “rhino in a python.”
The news only seems like it’s coming fast and furious, he said.
Pasco, population 79,580 as of 2021, has been planning for it for years. A new land use plan that ties with its utility plan means it can be precise about adapting to the needs of the newcomers.
“Accommodating growth is not new for Pasco,” Zabell said. “Obviously, it’s more than what we’ve seen in the past.
For shoppers and homebuyers, Broadmoor is the spot to watch. The sandy stretch of Road 100 is an obvious outlet for growth, previously limited by lack of access to the city sewer system. With a site plan and sewer system extension now in place, what and where the growth will happen is starting to take shape.
Tim Ufkes, a broker with the Bellevue office of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services Inc., represents a major Broadmoor area property owner. He said that after years of planning and utility work, development agreements are being signed.
Ufkes’ confirmed retail developer is expected to build a new shopping center across Sandifur from the site that has been linked to Costco. A residential developer is planning a project with affordable, senior and other types of housing to the west.
Karl Dye, president and chief executive officer of the Tri-City Development Council, or TRIDEC, credits a strong group of partners for creating the conditions to attract retailers, residential developers and industrial employers.
“What we’re seeing now is a lot of hard work paying off,” he said.
Finding workers could be the next big challenge. The Tri-Cities has more jobs now than prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Typically, that attracts newcomers to the community.
But a sharp increase in housing prices could be a challenge for planners to address.
To keep up with the land use planning and permitting work, the city is adding planning positions. So far, Zabell said, the planning department hasn’t fallen behind.
Zabell anticipates more projects too. He notes Pasco has long participated in the annual International Council of Shopping Centers, or ICSC, conference in Las Vegas, a must-attend event for real estate professionals.
Zabell said that in years past, Pasco representatives would discuss its planning and utility work to drum up interest from developers and retailers. The response would be polite and noncommittal: Let us know when you have something to sell.
The ICSC show was canceled last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the 2021 event will be held in early December. Would-be builders and tenants have started calling in advance.
“There’s a lot more interest now,” Zabell said. “We’ll be there in December.”
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