It’s good to live in Southeastern Washington.
The Tri-Cities is among the top 10 areas in the nation growing by leaps and bounds — so much so, the housing market is having a tough time keeping up with the demand.
“The affordable cost of living combined with great schools, low crime, favorable weather, minimal traffic, recreational activities and a comfortable quality of life make the Tri-Cities an attractive place to live and do business,” said Emily Estes-Cross, economic development manager for the city of Kennewick. “This is especially the case for the aging population that rely on a fixed income and young families just starting out.”
She said that Kennewick has diversified its economy over the years, creating job opportunities for people with various skill sets.
“It makes sense for people who can’t afford to live in major metropolitan areas like Portland or Seattle to head three hours east for a job, house and the sunshine that accompanies it,” Estes-Cross said.
Kerwin Jensen, director of community development for the city of Richland, agreed: “At a statewide level, we are a desirable area to live. We have great shopping opportunities, little traffic congestion, terrific schools, nice weather and sunshine, plenty of outdoor recreation and a low crime rate. And, we continue to have a very stable and improving economy.”
Each city has stretched its boundary from its downtown area to create new neighborhoods and business districts, which has resulted in a boom of construction both in apartment dwellings and single-family homes, Jensen said.
“The economy in the entire Tri-Cities region continues to strengthen,” Jensen said. “In Richland, we are seeing more single-family construction than we had last year, (and) commercial growth continues to increase throughout the city, especially in the Queensgate area.”
Richland has four major apartment complexes in the works: Innovation Center Apartments, a $14 million site with 147 units; Home 2 Suites, a $9 million site with 120 units; The Lodge at Columbia Point, an $8 million site with 82 units; and, Columbia Point Apartments, another $8 million site, with 94 units.
In Kennewick, the $8 million Badger Canyon Apartments on Ridgeline Drive will include 642 units in 14 buildings on 46 acres staggered on a slope with sweeping views of Badger Canyon.
The city of Kennewick has issued six apartment building permits for a total of 264 units. Two of these six buildings have been finalized, with 96 available currently units. The complex is expected to be completed next year.
And Pasco’s Road 68 area continues to swell with new homes and apartments springing up around a bustling business district, though no apartments were permitted in Pasco this year. “I am not aware of any pending permit applications either,” said Rick White, Pasco’s community and economic development director.
Pasco has issued 360 single-family building permits through Nov. 30, that’s up from the 220 issued for all of 2015.
Student housing projects also are planned at Washington State University Tri-Cities in Richland and Columbia Basin College in Pasco.
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