By Kristi Pihl, September 10, 2013, Tri-City Herald
The Port of Kennewick is on the hunt for land in Richland that could become one of the port’s future economic development success stories.
Port Commissioner Don Barnes said Tuesday the port needs to find its next Richland project now that the Spaulding Business Park is almost full.
Only one property remains in the 30-acre business park off of Columbia Park Trail in Richland.
Already, more than 300 jobs are located at Spaulding Business Park buildings, according to port documents. And about $20.7 million of taxable buildings have been constructed, adding to the property tax base.
The port is interested in beginning the process anew in Richland, although it doesn’t need to be a project exactly like Spaulding, Barnes said. The goal is to find a Richland project that will meet the port’s goals of inspiring economic development, supporting job creation and improving the quality of life.
No specific location has been chosen yet, although it needs to be in south Richland, which is in the port district, Barnes said. In general, the Yakima River is the port district’s boundary.
The port is looking for a project that will not compete with the private sector, such as rehabilitating property that doesn’t fit what the city has planned for the area or doesn’t meet the best use, Barnes said.
Barnes said the port is looking for property to buy at a fair and reasonable price.
The port already has ongoing economic development projects in West Richland and Kennewick, said Port Commission Chairman Skip Novakovich.
For example, the port has the former Tri-City Raceway in West Richland, and Clover Island and the redevelopment of Vista Field Airport and of Columbia Drive in Kennewick.
Port commissioners unanimously approved to lease 6,645 square feet in one of the Oak Street Industrial Park incubator buildings to Carbitex LLC, a carbon fiber manufacturing business.
The business is relocating to the newly remodeled space from other port business incubator space, Novakovich said. The company plans to add three employees with the move.
And the space Carbitex is vacating will be easy to find new tenants for, he said.
The lease approved by commissioners set the rent at $2,909 a month for the first year, along with fees for utilities, Novakovich said. The lease cost will escalate during the second and third years of the lease.
Carbitex will be on site for the grand opening of the remodeled Oak Street Industrial Park incubator buildings on Oct. 2.