Hanford land transfer to be completed Feb. 1

Former Hanford land will be transferred to Richland and the Port of Benton on Monday for economic development.
Former Hanford land will be transferred to Richland and the Port of Benton on Monday for economic development. Tri-City Herald

The city of Richland and Port of Benton will take possession on Monday of 1,341 acres of unneeded Hanford property released by the Department of Energy.

The land is classified as a “mega site” in industrial terms because of its size. Ideally, a major manufacturer looking for substantial acreage would be recruited to build a plant there.

The goal is to replace some of the Hanford jobs that will be lost as portions of environmental cleanup at the nuclear reservation are completed.

“We believe that once the property is developed it will have a far reaching impact on the region's economy,” said Carl Adrian, chief executive of the Tri-City Development Council.

The Department of Energy turned the land over to TRIDEC in fall 2015, after five years of work by TRIDEC and local governments to get the land released for economic development.

It was the first time since 1998 that DOE has returned land it seized for the Manhattan Project during World War II back to the Tri-Cities community.

TRIDEC received the land as the community reuse agency designated by DOE for unneeded Hanford property. But TRIDEC has planned from the outset to turn the land over to local government, saying it is not in the business of selling or leasing land.

The land is an irregularly shaped piece of property to the north and west of the Horn Rapids and Stevens intersection. Sections were carved out of the acreage originally requested by TRIDEC, including a site once used as a Hanford landfill for construction material, the site of a former homestead, an area near the Hanford firing range and a buffer area for some ongoing work at Hanford.

The transferred land was never used directly for Hanford’s work to produce plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program and has no radioactive contamination.

The land was designated under the Hanford Comprehensive Land Use Plan for eventual industrial development and is less than 1 percent of total Hanford land. Most of Hanford’s 586 square miles are planned to be used for conservation and preservation when no longer needed by DOE.

The 1,341 acres are positioned for development, with nearby roads, railroads, water and other utility service.

But the cost to fully industrialize it has been estimated by TRIDEC at about $40,000 an acre, possibly more because of the land’s unusual configuration. Proceeds from selling the land to industry are required by law to be used for the land’s economic redevelopment.

Annette Cary: 509-582-1533, @HanfordNews