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Port of Kennewick stays local to build wine village

Banlin Construction of Kennewick will build the Port of Kennewick’s Columbia Gardens Urban Wine & Artisan Village. Above, workers from 2F Construction work on streetscape improvements ahead of construction of the main buildings.
Banlin Construction of Kennewick will build the Port of Kennewick’s Columbia Gardens Urban Wine & Artisan Village. Above, workers from 2F Construction work on streetscape improvements ahead of construction of the main buildings. Tri-City Herald

It doesn’t get much more local than this: The Port of Kennewick has hired a West Columbia Drive construction firm to build its East Columbia Drive wine village.

Banlin Construction, with offices only half a mile west of the construction site, was the low bidder for the port’s Columbia Gardens Wine and Artisan Village project.

Banlin bid $3.4 million to build two wine tasting rooms and a support facility in the 400 block of East Columbia Drive, between the busy road and Duffy’s Pond.

Work begins in mid-October. Banlin is expected to deliver the completed project by mid-2017. The privately owned construction firm is managed by owners Casey Lindstrom and Jasen Banta.

The port hopes to have commercial wineries operating at the wine village in time for the 2017 fall crush. The port has not yet selected tenants for the two spaces but said it received strong offers from credible, well-capitalized Washington wineries when it advertised for tenants this summer.

Columbia Gardens is being developed to spark new development between Columbia Drive and the river. The wine village will link visitors to Duffy’s Pond and the Columbia River, just a levee away.

“This is really about reconnecting the city to the waterfront,” said Larry Peterson, the port’s director of planning and development.

This is really about reconnecting the city to the waterfront.

Larry Peterson, Port of Kennewick

Peterson said the port received 10 bids on the project. Excluding the highest, the remaining nine were within 12 percent of one another, giving the port confidence that the final price, while higher than expected, is a fair one.

The port previously rejected all the bids in an earlier effort to hire a contractor when they all came in several million above the port’s estimate.

It directed its architect, Terence Thornhill, to revisit the plans and eliminate some of the more costly elements, such as a concrete roof truss system and advanced wall construction techniques.

The final design will look the same as the first, but cost less to build.

The port intends to charge annual rent of $27,300, plus lease-related taxes.

Future phases and private development are expected to add additional tasting rooms, restaurants, shops and other destinations along the waterfront near Clover Island.

The city of Kennewick is playing a key supporting role in the project.

It is developing a new streetscape to improve the pedestrian environment along the busy roadway and created an effluent system to handle winery waste so the tenants do not have to deal directly with the state Department of Ecology.

Banlin is the third firm involved with developing Columbia Gardens.

Big D’s Construction began work to clear the site and prepare it for construction on May 9.

When it wrapped up, 2F Enterprises of Kennewick took over while it built the “streetscape” improvements to the sidewalks and related equipment.

Banlin takes over as soon as 2F completes its $320,360 contract.

Wendy Culverwell: 509-582-1514, @WendyCulverwell

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