A Seattle housing developer is bringing something new to Richland’s Columbia Point — high end apartments.
Evergreen Housing Development Group is preparing to break ground on a 94-unit, three-building complex after securing building permits earlier this month.
The complex will be the neighborhood’s first professionally managed apartment project.
The property is the last major undeveloped parcel at Columbia Point, a sliver of land nestled along the Columbia River to the north of Interstate 182.
A 94-unit, three-building complex is being built on the last major undeveloped parcel at Columbia Point, a sliver of land nestled along the Columbia River to the north of Interstate 182.
Rick Simon, planning director, said Richland envisioned a mixed-use waterfront at Columbia Point. Three hotels, three restaurants, office complexes and numerous condominium developments later, that’s what it got.
“We did get a mix of uses,” he said.
Columbia Point Drive may be filled up, but there is still undeveloped land in the area. The city owns a site between the Columbia Point Golf Course and the river. It is being reviewed as part of Richland’s downtown waterfront visioning process.
The apartment project answers rising demand for high-end rental housing, said Andrew Brand, Evergreen’s director of development.
“We believe there is demand for this kind of product,” he said.
Three years of continuous job growth have put the squeeze on all housing in the Tri-Cities, including homes for sale and for rent.
The Tri-City market has about 14,000 apartments for rent, according to the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington. In Benton County, the apartment vacancy rate stands at about 2.1 percent, according to the center’s spring survey.
The vacancy rate is less than half the 5 percent level that represents a healthy balance between landlords and renters and explains why rents have ticked up — more than 5 percent in two years, according to the Runstad survey.
The longer term result is new construction.
Indeed, at the same time Richland signed off on the Columbia Point projects, it issued two separate permits to develop additional phases of the Innovation Center apartment complex at 2894 Salk Ave. in North Richland.
14,000 Tri-City apartments for rent
2.1 percent Benton County apartment vacancy rate
5 percent healthy vacancy rateSource: Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington
Evergreen paid $1.1 million for the 3.2-acre site at 575 Columbia Point in a deal that closed March 8.
The project has a construction value of $8.5 million, a figure that does not factor in architectural fees or other soft costs. Workers installed construction fencing around the site last week and construction is to begin immediately.
Rush Hill Construction, Evergreen’s building arm, will erect the three-story buildings on a parcel next to the Towne Place Suites by Marriott, which was built in 2013.
Brand said the project does not have an official name yet. Units will boast 9-foot ceilings and high-end finishes such as plank flooring.
Evergreen is financing the project, though he declined to identify the source of funding. There is no public participation in the project and Evergreen expects to be a long-term owner.
It has not yet selected a management firm to oversee the complex and has not released its lease rates.
Construction will take nine to 13 months. Columbia Point is its third in the Tri-Cities. Evergreen developed the 228-unit Regency Park in Richland and the 152-unit Meadow Park in Kennewick.
The company manages a $150 million portfolio that includes about 1,200 units.