Shopko is dead, but its building is getting a makeover — and new tenant

The former Shopko store near Kennewick’s Columbia Center is getting a $2.6 million makeover as it prepares to reopen as At Home, a no-frills home decor retailer.

Parkway Construction and Architecture, contractor to Plano, Texas-based At Home Group, received a permit to proceed last week.

At Home is leasing the former Shopko space from Corvallis Wa LLC. Renovations will take several months, putting At Home on track to open its latest Washington store this fall.

At Home has confirmed its plans for Kennewick.

In February, Green Bay, Wisc.-based Shopko announced it would close stores in the Northwest by May 5 as the cash-strapped retailer mounted an unsuccessful bid to reorganize its debt in bankruptcy court.

This month, a judge approved a plan to close all remaining Shopkos.

The Kennewick store, 867 N. Columbia Center Blvd., and its Prosser sister, 471 Wine Country Road, were casualties of the company’s fifth round of closures, along with stores throughout the Northwest.

The move threatened to leave 106,000 square feet empty in the Mid-Columbia’s busiest corridor, already affected by the departures of Toys R Us, Sears and others.

But the high-profile spot next to Ranch & Home quickly drew a fresh tenant in At Home.

The $1.1 billion company, formerly known as Garden Ridge, operates about 180 stores in 36 states. It operates stores in Puyallup, Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.

Editor’s note: This story was updated July 2 when At Home formally confirmed its plan to open a store in Kennewick.

Wendy Culverwell writes about local government and politics, focusing on how those decisions affect your life. She also covers key business and economic development changes that shape our community. Her restaurant column and health inspection reports are reader favorites. She’s been a news reporter in Washington and Oregon for 25 years.