The Falls will marry apartments and commercial space in a single development in Kennewick’s Southridge area.
It promises to be one of the first true mixed-use project in Kennewick and to showcase the ambitions of its builder, Pasco’s Elite Construction + Development.
Mixing uses in a single development is not new, but it is relatively uncommon in the Tri-Cities.
Richland’s Park Place, a mix of apartments and retail at the entrance to Howard Amon Park, is a modern example. The Port of Kennewick’s revamp of the former Vista Field airport anticipates mixed uses, but no private development has occurred.
The Resort at Hansen Park, which includes three types of residential development will have commercial aspects in the future as well.
“The city of Kennewick has not had a mixed-use development. This is a first,” said Trini Garibay, CEO of Elite, representing the stakeholders in the project.
Elite has a long history of building single- and multifamily homes in addition to its commercial and government work, including Hanford projects. Garibay said it is drawing that history to plant a flag in the mixed-use world, an urban concept that encourages dense, urban development that reduces the need for single occupant vehicles.
“We are trying to make that Elite Development’s niche and become the contractor of choice for mixed-use developments,” said Garibay, who co-founded Elite with David Magaña, the chief operating officer.
The Falls breaks ground this winter at 4112 W. 24th Ave., near Kennewick’s Cynergy Centre and roughly across Highway 395 from Home Depot. Trios Southridge Hospital, Canyon Lakes, a fitness gym, offices and a cluster of restaurants and new home developments are in the neighborhood.
The project, with a construction value of $19 million, will add 105 apartments and two 5,500-square-foot commercial buildings at the entrance. The split is 80% residential to 20% commercial. Elite will build both types in tandem, saying the city wants to preserve the 80-20 balance through two phases of construction.
The residential section will be a four-over-one pedestal style building with 23 studio units, 38 one-bedroom units and 44 two-bedroom units. The commercial spaces will face the main street. There will be 172 parking spaces.
Space will be preleased further in the construction cycle. No leases have been signed.
Garibay sees The Falls as a poster child for high-impact development that efficiently uses limited land. The site is 3.5 acres.
He hopes it will help others to follow suit and serve as an example of what might happen at Vista Field.
“It will be the first of its kind,” he said.
The Falls will take about 24 months to complete. It will boast about 133,000 square feet in total.
Elite is undaunted at building residential units at a time when housing demand is slowing. New homes starts have dropped by 20% in the Tri-Cities and home sales have eased as well as the market absorbs the impact of six consecutive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve that have collectively pushed the cost of financing a typical Tri-City home to $2,700 a month, from $1,700 at the start of 2022.
C.J. Black, project executive, said the company knows how to navigate the rising cost of money and the supply chain disruptions that affect builders.
By adding to the apartment market, it serves the overall housing market by increasing options for people who are priced out of the market or want to wait out the “interest rate storm.”
“We provide a livable home in the meanwhile,” he said. “The timing of it is actually pretty unique for us to provide an added benefit,” he said.
The Falls’ target market is young professionals. It aims to be transit and Uber friendly and will offer courtyards and greenspace for residents and commercial tenants. It will offer a pet area and be welcoming to dogs.
Knutzen Engineering is the civil engineer. Kennewick determined it will not have a significant impact on the environment in October. The land is owned by RDG LLC, a Pasco limited liability company that acquired it by quit claim deed in November, according to county records.
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