Wenatchee Mayor: Businesses Still Bullish On Locating Here
A roughly 10 acre site facing the 1500 block of North Wenatchee Avenue remains vacant and the City of Wenatchee has been working with a consulting firm Retail Strategies, to find the best mix of businesses to move onto the desirable location.
The city of Wenatchee started demolition of the former Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) buildings that stood on the property for decades in 2021. The site became city property when the WSDOT moved to it's new headquarter facilities in Olds Station in 2018.
It was thought Retail Strategies would make recommendations on the best mix and type of businesses interested in locating at the site to the Wenatchee City Council last spring. That report is still pending and so the community anxiously awaits any news of whether their favorite retailer or restaurant might eventually locate here.
Mayor Kuntz says the delays have been primarily attributed to obtaining funding for Confluence Parkway Project and changes to the McKittrick Street redesign and Columbia Street bordering the site. Kuntz says a major anchor the city is negotiating with wants more clarification on how the vehicle access will be adjusted and but is still interested.
In fact, Kuntz says Wenatchee is still very attractive to retail chains, hospitality or dining and restaurant operators. He says the COVID pandemic may have had a temporary chilling effect on expansion plans but Wenatchee is still an attractive market. Kuntz said many of these operators have overlooked Wenatchee and then find they do very well in this market, citing Applebee's as an example.
Kuntz expects announcement of a major retailer that will be the anchor tenant on the property is likely this spring and then dining establishments that are not currently in the market would likely announce their intentions along with further retailers interest in the development plans.
The WSDOT surplus property is currently coming in handy as a storage site for snow removal from city streets and UPS is renting space for a temporary transfer facility. Once the property is developed into a new retail and dining destination on Wenatchee Avenue, the Public Works Department will have to find a new location for snow removal in winter seasons like this.
In the meantime, the public will keep wishing their favorite store or restaurant is among the options considering a new location in Wenatchee.