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Dupus bummer: Restaurant’s closure puts kink in development plans

Richland officials are hopeful the Dupus Boomer’s Downtown space won’t stay empty for long. The property plays a key role in the city’s Swift Corridor vision.
Richland officials are hopeful the Dupus Boomer’s Downtown space won’t stay empty for long. The property plays a key role in the city’s Swift Corridor vision. Tri-City Herald

A family restaurant named for a 1940s Hanford cartoon character was supposed to anchor Richland’s vision of connecting downtown to the Columbia River at Swift Boulevard.

But Dupus Boomer’s Downtown closed on Christmas Eve after a little over a year in business, disappointing city officials.

“That property is definitely a key piece of our Swift Corridor vision,” said Zach Ratkai, the city’s economic development manager. The two-story building with rooftop access is a rare amenity.

“We do understand the restaurant industry is difficult. I don’t think it will stay empty for long,” he said.

Greg Markel, a local real estate executive, developed the property and restaurant after purchasing the site from the city.

Work began in 2013. A Jimmy John’s sandwich shop, a Taco Time and a Go Green salads outlet occupy a building on the west side of the property.

Dupus Boomer’s opened in the a 7,500-square-foot corner spot in mid-2016 after numerous delays. The modern building overlooks Richland City Hall to the south and a city fire station to the east.

Markel could not be reached.

Ratkai said the purchase and sale agreement with Markel gives him some flexibility to re-purpose the building. The second floor could be remodeled into office or residential space, Ratkai said.

“We definitely see a lot of opportunity.”

The Swift Corridor project is an ongoing series of investments aimed at creating a visitor-friendly path between downtown and the river.

Another key component is relocating city hall from its current, obsolete building to a new one under construction a block to the west. The $17.8 million project just began.

When the new building opens in two years, the current city hall will be demolished and the site sold for commercial development. Ratkai said the city hall property isn’t officially on the market, but there is already interest among Realtors and potential developers for the highly visible spot alongside George Washington Way.

Wendy Culverwell: 509-582-1514, @WendyCulverwell

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