Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilitySecond phase of upgrades to Kennewick waterfront almost done | KEPR
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Second phase of upgrades to Kennewick waterfront almost done


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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Columbia Gardens wine and artisan village along the Columbia River is nearing another milestone.

The Port of Kennewick says their contractors have through the end of the month to meet their deadline and hand the project over for inspections.

"This was a challenged part the community. Older structures, older infrastructure," port operations director Amber Hanchette. "The port purchased these parcels of land, took down the old buildings."

Rising from the same spot: a waterfront destination with plans to make the most of Washington Wine Country.

Divided into three phases, she says phase two consists of the site's fourth building.

Hanchette says two new tasting rooms will eventually call the newest building home, bringing the project's total to four.

She says the architect got creative, making the structure two stories tall with a clock tower.

What appears to be a second floor conceals the machinery for the clock as well as the facility's HVAC.

The new building's patio connects with the Food Truck Plaza, encouraging visitors to wander the grounds.

"We'll have some new site furnishings, but we're also putting up a shade structure," Hanchette says. "We'll have some decorative lighting on it so it'll be lit at night."

She says this summer they'll sell two parcels of land just west of the new structure, and from there they wait to see what the private sector does with it.

Right now they're planning for two different buyers to put up two different buildings, unique but complimentary to the neighboring project.

They're hoping for an art gallery, small bistro or retail space.

"Think about when you go somewhere, what you like to interact with," Hanchette explains. "You want to have food. We could even have a little taphouse or brewery down here."

She says the site is also planning for potentially two more production/tasting-room combinations.

The City of Kennewick invested in an effluent system to treats wastewater from wine production before releasing it into the sewer.

"Having access to the treatment system is a really big deal to a lot of wineries right now," Hanchette says. "The city of Kennewick made that investment so owners will just pay a metered rate."

She says the Port of Kennewick worked with designers to make sure every aspect of the project was pleasing to the eye.

Including a bus stop at the edge of the site on Columbia Drive.

The operations director says there are a few more ventures excited about but which they're not ready to share.

"Swampy's BBQ is our anchor tenant, we've four other spaces and food trucks that're very interested in coming in starting in spring."

Founder Ron Swamby says business is booming, even during the winter.

"Who barbecues in the winter?" he says, laughing. "If you don't, we do."

Swamby says he says he's ready for phase two to wrap up.

"I believe it's going to really boost business for us," he says. "If it was good before, now it's going to be great."

Another thing he's ready for? Neighbors.

"Because once this opens, that's a lot of traffic and I'd love to see other businesses prosper and do just as well."

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Hanchette says if all goes according to plan they'll be moving the new tenants in by spring, with grand celebrations to follow.

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