The Port of Kennewick has a new partner in its work to recruit businesses for the Vista Field redevelopment project.
Port commissioners approved an agreement to work with the Tri-City Development Council, or TRIDEC, to entice businesses to be part of what’s envisioned to be a vibrant, walkable mixed-use development near the Columbia Center mall.
“We’re very, very grateful for their assistance on this,” said Tim Arntzen, the port’s chief executive officer. “Instead of everyone being in their own little (silo), we have two agencies cooperating to do the public’s work.”
Karl Dye, chief executive officer of TRIDEC, said the port has done a great job in planning and investing in infrastructure for Vista Field. “They have a master plan for new urbanism – that live-work environment that would mimic a historic downtown of 100 years ago. For them to be successful in this effort would be a great opportunity for the Tri-Cities,” he said.
The memorandum of understanding between the two agencies extends through December. It says the port and TRIDEC will form a business recruitment team made up of staff members from each organization. The team will work to recruit existing local and regional businesses and emerging entrepreneurs, making phone calls, offering tours and following up.
The port pays annual membership dues to TRIDEC, but it isn’t paying additional money for the Vista Field help.
Vista Field was once a municipal airport, but the port shuttered it in 2013 and began work to transform it into a regional town center with a mix of commercial and residential development.
The 103-acre site is next to the Toyota Center and the Three Rivers Convention Center.
The port has invested $4.9 million in infrastructure for the first 20 acres of development. That first phase is set to include four parcels for single-family development, seven for live-work development and 10 for mixed-use.
Arntzen said there’s been small business and residential development interest recently, and he hopes to be able to share more news on that front soon.
When Vista Field is fully built out, it’s planned to include about 750,000 square feet of space for retail, office, service and entertainment uses, 1,100 residential units, a privately-funded performing arts center, and a 2.5-acre central plaza.
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