The Tri-Cities Research District (TCRD) in north Richland is growing in size and new activity. Its boundaries have been expanded to include most of the property recently transferred from the Hanford Site (north of Horn Rapid Road, west of Stevens). The district will support the master planning and recruitment efforts that will be led by the port and city during this next year with targets focused on clean energy manufacturing and biosciences.
At the corner of Stevens Drive and University Drive, the next phase of an additional 384 units of the Loft Apartments will be starting construction in the spring. The developers, Innovation Center, LLC, initially opened with 160 units with 93 percent occupancy in 2013.
The growth in the number of people living in the TCRD has spurred the emergence of new restaurants such as That Place, Ethos Trattoria, Ann’s Creole (Richland Airport), Baby J’s Barbeque and Burgers, Stone Soup along with food truck vendors Kendra’s Wok and Roll and Dicky’s BBQ. Long established Venezia Ristorante has recently been remodeled and has new offerings.
This type of neighborhood commercial development is needed to serve the more than 8,600 innovative and creative people that live, work, learn, and play here.
$1.3 billion The value of PNNL as a community asset
PNNL continues to expand their campus with a new chemistry building under construction along with a new office building and collaboration center planned for 2016-17. PNNL represents a $1.3 billion asset for our community with more than 4,300 jobs, most of which are located within the TCRD.
IsoRay also plans to start construction of their office and production facility within the TCRD. Keeping this company within the state and retaining more than 40 jobs was a true success for the community thanks to the partnership efforts by the Port of Benton and TRIDEC.
Finally, the TCRD received its re-designation by the state of Washington as an Innovation Partnership Zone (IPZ). This is because of the successful collaborations and partnerships that have delivered such projects as the Wine Science Center and Local Revitalization Area Funding (LRF) to support broadband and road construction. We need action by the state legislature to allow LRF to be a long standing economic development financing tool as we seek to create a post Hanford economy.
We look forward to the year ahead which will be focused on support for makerspaces for small companies and on events that support entrepreneurialism. There is always something new going on in the Tri-Cities Research District and that is why What’s Next, Start’s Here!