Work is underway at the future Kennewick location for Walla Walla-based Graze, A Place to Eat.
Owners Rebecca and John Lastoskie bought the former China Cafe at 131 N. Ely St. in late 2021.
The old building, which began life as a Pizza Hut, was demolished and is being replaced with a new 1,469-square foot restaurant with a drive-thru.
When it opens, it will be the third Tri-City location for Graze, after its spots on Gage Boulevard in Kennewick and on George Washington Way in Richland.
The city of Pasco has applied for a $4.2 million construction permit to build a new building for Tri-Cities Animal Control.
Plans call for a 9,651-square-foot facility at 1311 S. 18th Ave. The building site is approximately 2.51 acres in size, of which approximately 1.9 acres will be developed.
It will include complete site development around the new facility and relocating the current Heritage Trail.
CKJT Architects PLLC of Kennewick is the architect.
The city of Richland has created the Horn Rapids triangle to encourage industrial and manufacturing development in a 2,300-acre area bordered by the Richland Airport to the south, Stevens Drive to the east and Horn Rapids Drive to the north.
The Richland City Council approved the “Targeted Urban Area” in January, making it the first in Washington to take advantage of the state’s newest tool to promote manufacturing through tax incentives.
The Port of Benton and Tri-City Development Council both endorsed the triangle, which includes land the port owns.
“This is a very strong tool for economic development that we lacked in the past,” said Karl Dye, president of TRIDEC. Dye said Washington often competes with states such as Idaho, Oregon, North Carolina and Virginia that have such tools for clean energy projects, putting the Tri-Cities at a competitive disadvantage.
Businesses that invest in the Horn Rapids Triangle are eligible for a break on city-related property taxes for up to 10 years. Businesses would be eligible by constructing buildings of 10,000 square feet or larger, investing at least $800,000 and by creating at least 25 new, full-time jobs paying $23 or more an hour.
The tax exemption would apply only to the city’s share of property taxes and would not affect other taxing authorities.
A Starbucks coffee shop will anchor a new strip mall planned in Richland.
The three-space project will be built at the site of the now-demolished Shari’s Restaurant, 1745 George Washington Way, at the Safeway-anchored Washington Plaza.
The old restaurant was demolished after standing empty for several years. Benton County property records indicate Shari’s, based in Beaverton, Oregon, still owns the site.
In December, Stephens & Sons Construction Inc. applied to the city of Richland for permits to build a retail building with a drive-through.
The future space is being marketed by Erik Nelson and Jason Goffard of Kiemle Hagood. Marketing materials confirm Starbucks will occupy the space with the drive-thru. The Seattle-based coffee chain operates a walk-in spot in the same shopping center.
The project is being marketed to tenants as Washington Plaza “pad site,” with construction planned in 2023.
The site offers frontage on George Washington Way and has spaces ranging from about 1,000 square feet to 3,600 square feet. Lease rates have not been disclosed.
A bill sponsored by a freshman lawmaker from Kennewick has passed the Washington State House of Republicans.
Rep. April Connors, R-Kennewick, a real estate agent in private life, sponsored the bipartisan bill to exempt leaseback arrangements from the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act. The proposed rule concerns home purchases where the seller leases a property from the buyer for a short period after the deal closes.
If approved, the bill will allow homebuyers to lease homes to sellers without being considered landlords by the RLTA. Under the bill, the seller must be represented by an attorney, real estate broker or managing broker licensed to practice in Washington.
Connors prefiled House Bill 1070 in December. It was scheduled for an executive session in the Senate Committee on Housing on Feb. 10, after the Journal’s press deadline.
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Vandals caused more damage at the former Kennewick General Hospital property in downtown Kennewick than previously disclosed.
Benton County agreed to fund two new facilities maintenance workers for the closed hospital, saying a rash of break-ins and vandalism resulted in “significant damage” that went beyond the flooding and dying landscape it reported in December.
According to a January report, break-ins and vandals caused extensive damage to the heating and fire protection systems, leaving large portions of the 193,000-square-foot hospital building out of service.
The county acquired the property on Nov. 1, 2022, to repurpose it as one of two sites for a regional recovery center.
It inherited a building that had closed in August 2022, when Trios Health moved its birthing center to the hospital at Southridge, and a failed irrigation system that threatened the mature landscape.
It worked to restart irrigation and hired security guards to police the property in December.
In January, the Benton County Board of Commissioners voted to provide $323,000 from the behavioral health fund to install two maintenance workers starting Feb. 1.
The workers will repair the damaged systems, remove damaged landscaping, furnishings and other material and keep the building operational.
Developers, designers and contractors are “keeping a wary eye” on the market in 2023 as inflation, rising interest rates, commodity prices and labor issues confound the experts.
So reports Rider Levett Bucknall, which tracks constructions costs across a variety of products and markets.
The RLB National Construction Index rose to 244.19 at the end of 2023, up from 225.38 a year prior, or about 8%, which echoes the 8.2% increase reported in the Consumer Price Index, or CPI, for the year.
RLB notes its Architectural Billings Indx, a sign of work to come, showed a steady decline over the year, it said. In another measure of future confidence, the Construction Industry Confidence Index fell to 44, well below the five-year average of 56.3. A figure below 50 reflects negative sentiment.
The Pacific Northwest posted some of the steepest construction cost increases, according to RLB. Portland costs rose 9.36%, while Seattle climbed 9%. Only Chicago was higher, at 12%.
Construction costs in Seattle at the end of 2022 were: $315-$585 per square foot for prime office space, $210-$290 for secondary, $235-$375 per square foot for retail space in shopping centers and $175-$290 in strip malls, $410-$640 per square foot for five-star hotels and $290-$400 for three-star hotels and $510-$710 per square foot for general hospital space.
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