WEST RICHLAND, Wash. -- The former Tri-City Raceway could become the newest wine-inspired development.
Proximity to the Red Mountain American Viticultural Area and the Red Mountain interchange project could make the property a good location for a wine village and wine-related research, warehouses and manufacturing, Port of Kennewick commissioners were told Tuesday.
The port bought the former Tri-City Raceway property in 2008 for $1.8 million, about four years after the last cars raced around the track, said Larry Peterson, the port's director of planning and development.
The 93-acre property is well positioned for development with more land poised to be added into wine grape production on Red Mountain, Peterson said.
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Kennewick Irrigation District approved a plan in May that would provide pressurized water to about 1,700 acres of land for wine grape growing.
That expansion could cause a demand for warehousing, manufacturing and research that this property could meet, Peterson said. The port could see some of the same type of development the Port of Benton saw in Prosser.
Right now, the property can be accessed only from Highway 224, said Ferdouse Oneza of Oneza & Associates of Seattle. However, if the property is brought into the city's urban boundary, connecting roads could be added.
West Richland was not able to get the raceway site into its urban growth boundary during its last attempt, Peterson said. Bringing the property into the city's urban growth boundary would allow city water and sewer to be extended.
If the property stays in the county, limited development would be possible, with about 15 percent land coverage, she said. That could mean about 480,000 square feet of buildings.
Oneza said the city has a better chance of getting the property included in its urban growth area now because of a more practical approach.
With city sewer and water, about 25 percent of the ground could be covered, she said. That would mean about 800,000 square feet of buildings.
The property could include manufacturing, warehousing and a wine village, with wineries around a central plaza and a demonstration vineyard, Oneza said. A trail system also could be added.
In the long term, it would be more beneficial to develop with the property in West Richland's urban growth area, Oneza said. Expected investment, tax revenue increases and job growth would be larger in the urban growth area than in the unincorporated Benton County.
There is the potential for about $77 million in investment and 1,031 jobs with the 93 acres in the city's urban growth boundary, according to Oneza's report.
That would include private investment in developing the property, Peterson said. There aren't estimates yet on how much the port would invest in infrastructure.
Port Commission President Skip Novakovich said the raceway property could be the next Spaulding Business Park, especially once the interchange is built.
-- Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org