RICHLAND -- Several remodeling projects at Rivers Edge Plaza are expected to bring more customers to the area that's known as a destination for recreation and entertainment.
Next month, Sure Shot Billiards & Darts is expected to move into the space previously occupied by Roy's Western Smorgy restaurant, and Paul and Diane Santillie plan to open a restaurant and pasta shop at the former Club Paradise building.
Chuck E. Cheese's expansion project, to be completed by the end of the school year, will add about 2,000 square feet to the 10,500-square-foot restaurant at the plaza on North Columbia Center Boulevard off of Highway 240.
It means more games, rides and seating for customers, said Randy Hettinger, general manager at Chuck E. Cheese's. "It'll be a whole new, great looking store." It also will help the restaurant to better serve customers and continue to increase sales, Hettinger said.
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"Activity breeds activity," said James Wade, a real estate agent with EverStar Realty who's responsible for leasing the property, parts of which were built more than 30 years ago.
The activity at the plaza also indicates that Tri-City commercial real estate leasing is picking up, Wade said. A lot of empty spaces are being filled because there's a renewed sense of confidence, he said.
At Kennewick's Columbia Center mall, a new Crazy 8 store will open later this month, said Kim Harvey, the mall's marketing director. The 2,200-square-foot store will offer affordable fashionable clothing for girls and boys sizes 0 to 14, she said.
Steve Sawdey, who owns Sure Shot Billiards & Darts with his wife Yo, decided to relocate from West Clearwater Avenue in Kennewick to the plaza because of its central location and to generate more business.
He said he expects the move to help him diversify. Beside retailing gaming room supplies, including dart boards and tables for pool, poker, foosball and ping pong, the Sawdeys' new 7,800-square-foot store will have a coffee and sandwich shop, and a place to play pool.
"We'll also have ice cream and fruit drinks for kids. No alcohol," said Steve Sawdey.
Chuck E. Cheese's is expanding in the vacant area once occupied by Children's Attic, Hettinger said, adding continued positive sales and the availability of space nearby made the move easier.
The store will have 20-25 new games and rides and about 16 new seats, he said.
Wade said he's also excited about having a new pasta store and restaurant at the plaza.
There are 10 tenants at Rivers Edge Plaza, he said. He said he has two spots open: A 1,700-square-foot retail space and 11,000-square-foot warehouse space. He said he's looking for businesses that will be able to take advantage of the increased customer traffic at the center.
-- Pratik Joshi: 582-1541; firstname.lastname@example.org; Business Beat blog at www.tricityherald.com