Come and visit the Tri-Cities Research District (TCRD) in North Richland. Its 1,700 acres has seen quite a bit of change over this past year, and we have high hopes for this to continue during 2015. As you drive up George Washington Way, the new Wine Science Center facility will greet you along with Washington State University Tri-Cities’ growing student campus.
At the corner of Stevens Drive and University Drive, the new Gesa Credit Union and restaurant That Place are great stops to make. The 160-unit Loft Apartments are receiving rave reviews. They opened with 93 percent occupancy. We are looking forward to Innovation Center, TCRD’s next set of plans. These developments have proved the need for neighborhood commercial services, student housing and additional residential options within the TCRD to serve the more than 8,600 innovative and creative people that live, work, learn and play here. The Port of Benton and TCRD are working with several developers to see what other opportunities can be realized.
As we go further into the district, new sidewalks and upgraded Innovation Boulevard (former Q Avenue) provide enhanced pedestrian access and connections between WSU Tri-Cities and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory campuses. PNNL’s expanding campus and new Systems Engineering Laboratory (the sixth new laboratory built at PNNL in recent years) represent a $1.3 billion asset and more than 4,300 jobs, most of which are located in the TCRD.
The city of Richland and the TCRD have joined in a partnership to bring $2.3 million in new broadband infrastructure throughout the district, creating multiple options and access for new companies to expand and grow. The TCRD is within the city of Richland and Port of Benton’s Local Revitalization Financing area that has also extended roadways and infrastructure. TCRD has renewed its highly-regarded Seminar Series and also plans to hold monthly networking “PUB Talks” to support the growing entrepreneurial environment.
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The TCRD companies represent around 13 percent of total employment in the Tri-City area, with an average annual wage of over $77,500, according to the most recent Census Bureau Employment Statistics. The challenge is clear: Keep pressing to create long-term jobs within these job sectors and seek other like-minded companies that want to create, collaborate and manufacture with world-class resources and workforce. What’s next starts here!