The big story in east Pasco lately has been, well, big. Amazon, Darigold, Local Bounti, Reser’s.
We are pleased to add homebuilding to the list.
In the June edition of the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business, we spoke with homebuilders who saw an opportunity in an area that is often overlooked.
Homebuilding is not new in east Pasco as a stroll through the established Tierra Vida community makes clear. The Broetje Family Trust created the community-focused mix of single- and multifamily homes to cater to workers at its orchards.
But the new homes offered by Ramgar Homes and Empire Bros Construction with prices approaching $400,000 are unusual.
Mike Gonzalez, the city’s economic development director, calls such prices a game changer, signifying a transformation on the city’s east side, long stigmatized for its checkered past, low-income housing and industrial history. The area east of the BNSF Railway tracks snaking north to south through the city is considered east Pasco.
As Hilario Zaragoza of Empire Bros put it, the stigma is disappearing.
There is much to recommend in east Pasco, from ag-related jobs at the Pasco Processing Center – plus the many more expected to come in the next year – to its proximity to the Columbia River and easy access to Interstate 182. The area also boasts the Tri-Cities’ only state park, the scenic and history-rich Sacajawea State Park, at the confluence of the Columbia and Snake rivers.
As Gonzalez points out, while homebuilders beg for suitable lots elsewhere, land is available in east Pasco.
On that note, the city’s voters recently approved taxing most retail sales to build an aquatics center at an unspecified location, possibly the Broadmoor area of Pasco’s west side. We respectfully suggest planners consider the east side as well.
We agree with the developers – there’s plenty of potential in the area, which will be even more accessible once the city completes the Lewis Street overpass taking shape in downtown Pasco. And with additional development launches at Osprey Pointe on Port of Pasco property near the Columbia River, there will be even more reason to head east of the tracks.
There is much work left to do to provide the services residents need and deserve, but new homebuilding is a good start.
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