Articles by Robin Wojtanik

Robin Wojtanik spent most of her career in broadcast journalism, working at television stations around the country. She spent nearly a decade managing newsrooms in the Tri-Cities and Yakima. She enjoys volunteering for Junior Achievement and Christ the King School and serves on the board for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Northwest chapter. She lives in Richland with her husband and children.
A retail complex overlooking the Columbia River is under contract after being listed for $6.4 million. (Courtesy AGM Real Estate)

Sale pending for prime Richland commercial development

A sale is pending for a sizable commercial property adjacent to the Columbia River at the north end of Columbia Center Boulevard, within Richland’s city limits. Two tenants vacated the 101,000-square-foot Rivers Edge Plaza in the last year, including anchor tenant Chuck E. Cheese and All-American Gymnastics. Neither space has been filled in the complex…

Agricultural land north of the Richland Target is set to be rezoned for housing, commercial development and public use, which could include the site of a future school. (Courtesy city of Richland)

Rezone would pave way for Richland housing, school

Hundreds of acres north of the Queensgate Drive shopping area are poised to be rezoned by the city of Richland to pave the way for future development and a new school. The 314-acre parcel, which has been owned by Washington since its statehood, is currently zoned agricultural. The state Department of Natural Resources requested the…

Walla Walla County’s largest employer, Broetje Orchards, is operating under a new name after its sale to a Canadian investment fund. (Courtesy FirstFruits Farms LLC)

Canadian investment fund buys Broetje Orchards

Sale of company changes name to FirstFruit Farms The quiet sale of one of the state’s largest apple companies means Broetje Orchards has a new name: FirstFruit Farms. The sale closed at the end of 2018 and the business now operates under three entities: FirstFruits Farms LLC, FirstFruits Marketing LLC and FirstFruits Community LLC. Financial…

Head meat server, Michael Dicenzo, poses in gaucho attire with Ferdinand the bull inside Boiada Brazilian Steakhouse, which is scheduled to open in May. Two families are remodeling a former nightclub to launch their traditional Brazilian steakhouse, which will feature charcoal-grilled meat served from large skewers. (Courtesy Boiada Brazilian Steakhouse)

Get a bite of Brazil at steakhouse coming to Kennewick

Steakhouse to feature traditional dishes from owners’ native country It’s hard to contain the excitement and enthusiasm shared by two families planning to open what’s thought to be the Tri-Cities’ first traditional Brazilian steakhouse. “We want to bring the music, the culture, the happiness. Brazilians are happy people,” Thea Dicenzo said. “We want people who…

Members of the Tri-Cities Local Business Association hold monthly meetings, which includes rotating speakers and the opportunity to network with other small-business owners and employees. (Courtesy TCLBA)

Association works to encourage hiring of small, local businesses

The Tri-Cities Local Business Association is growing its membership by focusing on building a strong relationship with Hanford contractors, and keeping its lens on the future of the site, rather than its past. Most members of the nonprofit are second-tier subcontractors focused on the cleanup of the U.S. Department of Energy site in Richland. “Many…

Hundreds of apartments are planned for this large expanse in the Badger Mountain South area of Richland, a project valued at $43.7 million. The complex will include 276 units for low-income tenants at 2555 Bella Coola Lane, south of the Country Mercantile.

Low-income apartments moving ahead at Badger Mountain South

Building permits and financing are in place for the first apartments at Badger Mountain South in Richland. The complex will include 276 units for low-income tenants at 2555 Bella Coola Lane, south of the Country Mercantile on Ava Way, near Trowbridge Boulevard. The city of Richland has issued grading and building permits to Nor Am…

Thrift store and resale industries haven’t seen the same aggressive decluttering efforts resulting in the Tri-Cities widespread hand-me-down donations elsewhere in the nation. (Courtesy Goodwill)

Tidying up craze sweeping the nation leaves Tri-Cities in the dust

The life-changing magic of clearing personal clutter hasn’t hit the Tri-Cities in quite the same way its effect has been felt nationally. Cities across the nation are citing overwhelming donations at thrift store and reseller sites, thanks to people inspired by the popular Netflix show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” The reality series, inspired by…

A Kennewick car dealership is under new ownership after it was purchased by the family who owns Speck dealerships across the Tri-Cities and the lower Yakima Valley.

Speck Motors buys second Tri-City dealership

Desert Buick GMC has been renamed to include Speck brand The owners of C. Speck Motors Inc. have bought another established car dealership in the region, bringing their total number of dealerships to five. The sale of Desert Buick GMC at 2910 W. Clearwater Ave. in Kennewick resulted in an immediate rebranding to Speck Buick…

A large indoor family fun center called Launch Trampoline Park is planned in Kennewick that will include more than jumping, including laser tag, a ninja course and a bowling alley. (Courtesy Will McKay)

Second trampoline park planned for Kennewick

Three local investors team up for $2M indoor family fun center A trio of entrepreneurs is investing $2 million in a large indoor family fun center planned near Columbia Center mall in Kennewick. Developers hope to make an announcement soon about the location for Washington state’s first Launch Trampoline Park and hope to open it…

A Richland business owner is constructing a building for new tenants at 1953 Fowler St. in Richland. The project is visible from Highway 240 on the westernmost edge of Columbia Park, just east of Cost Less Carpet and Smart Foodservice.

Commercial building underway near Columbia Park

Ford Group to invest $3.6M on commercial building for up to 7 tenants A small project grew to 10 times its original size when the Ford Group decided to put a 34,000-square-foot building on nearly two acres of open land in Richland. “We just wanted a place to store our boat,” said Greg Ford, owner…

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