PASCO — It took the Port of Pasco 10 years to turn its vision of a riverfront business park near Oregon and Ainsworth avenues into reality.
On Monday, the port celebrated the progress made on the 110-acre site called Osprey Pointe, the Mid-Columbia's newest waterfront business center designed for high-end business office space with public access to the river.
Some of the preliminary work included realignment of Ainsworth Avenue, demolition of outdated buildings, approval of regulatory agreements and preparation of construction plans.
But the biggest push to promote the area for economic development came with a legislative change sponsored by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., port officials said.
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By helping remove flow easements that allowed the Army Corps of Engineers to flood the area in an emergency, Hastings cleared the way to potentially attract private investments, said Port Commissioner Bill Clark. Businesses no longer will be worried about flooding, he said.
The port honored Hastings with a leadership award for his role in making Osprey Pointe a reality.
It's the first major development on the river and will spur economic growth in the community, he said.
The new business park also will help improve the quality of life in the community, said Gary Crutchfield, Pasco city manager. "It's a bold effort on the port's part."
Ground was broken in late February for the first building at Osprey Pointe.
In addition to the 20,000-square-foot office building, the first phase of the project, which encompasses 20 acres and costs about $5.7 million, includes utility installation and site preparation for five more buildings.
The site would create a five-acre landscaped public gathering place with lighted walking paths to the Columbia River shoreline, said Randy Hayden, director of planning and engineering at the port. "People will feel welcome here."
The port is using $4.2 million from an insurance settlement to pay for the two-story building, part of which will be occupied by the port administration.
The building, which will be ready by next February, is expected to attract private developers to the business park, Hayden said. He said the port expects to generate 300 new jobs and an investment of $40 million in the next five to ten years.
"The Tri-Cities will be a better place to live, work and play because of Osprey Pointe," said Matt Watkins, Pasco's acting mayor.
-- Pratik Joshi: 509-582-1541; firstname.lastname@example.org; Business Beat blog at www.tricityherald.com