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These high-end, riverview apartments will replace the Richland pit

Park Place will be a four-story retail and apartment complex bordering Howard Amon Park in Richland. A pair of retail buildings will front George Washington Way, with a courtyard between them and the apartment building.
Park Place will be a four-story retail and apartment complex bordering Howard Amon Park in Richland. A pair of retail buildings will front George Washington Way, with a courtyard between them and the apartment building.

Construction should begin this fall on a $20 million apartment-and-retail project Richland officials hope will help spark a revival of the downtown core.

New details and a new time line were released on the project to cover the unsightly pit at the city's south entrance, next to one of the city's hallmark parks.

The units won't come cheap. The smallest studio apartment will start at about $1,080 a month, not including parking and utilities.

Park Place will be a four-story complex bordering Howard Amon Park at 650 George Washington Way.

It will feature 106 apartments and about 3,000 square feet of retail space. The complex also will offer 27 underground parking spots, carports and storage units.

A pair of retail buildings with nearly 6,600 more square feet will front George Washington Way, with a courtyard between them and the apartments.

650 Gway.jpg
Park Place will be a four-story retail and apartment complex bordering Howard Amon Park in Richland. A pair of retail buildings will front George Washington Way, with a courtyard between them and the apartment building. Rendering by TVA Architects

The Crown Group and its Richland partner, Boost Builds, expects to break ground Oct. 20, according to the new information submitted to the city.

The Richland City Council is set to consider a seventh amendment to its agreement to sell the site to Crown when it meets Tuesday.

The oft-delayed project has been hung up on financing, but Crown, based in Hoffman Estates, Ill., indicated it hopes to close a loan with HUD, the federal housing and urban development agency, Oct. 19.

Grading and other construction-related activity could start as early as the following day.

When finished the average monthly rent for Park Place apartments will be $1,243 per month. The largest two bedroom, two-bath units are expected to rent for $1,500.

Parking will cost $125 a month in the garage or $35 a month for a carport. Utility costs will be passed onto renters as well.

The average Tri-City apartment rented for $834 a month, according to the Spring Apartment Market Report by the University of Washington's Runstad Department of Real Estate.

The local vacancy rate was 1.1 percent, a sign of a very tight market for renters.

Fowler General Construction submitted project plans to the city in February.

The current start date represents a delay from the mid-June plans laid out when the agreement was amended for the sixth time, in 2017.

The extension is routine, but it does offer a view to the behind-the-scenes work that has gone into developing the site since Richland first selected Crown to develop a gateway project in March 2015.

Crown has contemplated several variations, including one anchored by a public market. In the end, it and the city opted for a combination of apartments and retail space.

Aerial Richland pit.jpg
Crown Group and its local partner, Boost Builds, expect to begin construction of an upscale apartment and retail complex in late October at 650 George Washington Way in Richland. Tri-City Herald File

While the site itself is untouched, Crown has invested more than $600,000 on planning and design work to get the project to this point.

Richland views residential development as a key to its vision of a revived central district with restaurants, entertainment, work place and more.

Park Place and its sister project, the conversion of a Jadwin Way office building into apartments, aim to provide upscale rentals to the professionals who work at the federal building, Richland city hall and the Kadlec Regional Medical Center complex.

Park Place is expected to generate about $2 million in annual rental and fee income.

Once the financing agreement is complete, Crown and its partners will close on the purchase of the 2.63-acre site with the city.

The deal is worth roughly $600,000, which includes $75,000 for upgrades to the greenbelt trail that runs along the property.

The Richland City Council meets at 7 p.m. for a pre-meeting session at 955 George Washington Way, and at 7:30 p.m. next door at the city hall council chambers, 505 Swift Blvd.

Wendy Culverwell: 509-582-1514
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