Kennewick seeks buyer for land near Southridge

The city of Kennewick has 2.8 acres of prime commercial real estate for sale, but only to a buyer who can build the right stuff.

City officials said this week that developers interested in competing for the right to build on the property at Hildebrand Boulevard and Highway 395 have until Jan. 31 to submit their plans.

Whatever is put on the northwest corner of the intersection will have to be a good fit with the 9/11 memorial just north of the site. It also will be highly visible to the Southridge Sports Complex.

The city council rezoned the property to commercial this week as a first step to see the prime location developed by private interests. The council decided earlier this fall to declare the city-owned site surplus so it could be offered for sale.

Jeff Kossow, the city's director of economic development, said a panel of several city staff, including City Manager Marie Mosley, will review the applications and select three top contenders to prepare design/build proposals.

The first round of review will take about two weeks, Kossow said, noting that six developers already have shown interest.

The property is in the 2,500-acre Southridge Sub-Area, the city's prime future growth area. It also is where the Kennewick Public Hospital District plans to build a $70 million new hospital, just west of the city's 2.8 acres.

The city has been working with property owners in the sub-area to encourage development by extending Hildebrand Boulevard and other infrastructure essential to that development.

Kennewick also has received about $13.6 million in revitalization financing for the infrastructure improvements, Kossow said.

The finalists will have 45 days to prepare their proposals, which will be evaluated for their "best use of the property," Kossow said.

The winning bid will receive a sales and development contract agreement for a design/development team to do all design, development and marketing services, Kossow added.

The design/build concept was how the Three Rivers Convention Center was built. The Kennewick Public Facilities District board called for competition of proposals, eventually selecting the one to build the multimillion-dollar project.