KENNEWICK, Wash. - The Port of Kennewick began tearing down the old Chieftain Motel in Kennewick Friday. It's all part of a conceptual plan to revitalize the city's waterfront.
The Port of Kennewick bought the Chieftain property earlier this year for $800,000. But it wasn't because they wanted to revamp the motel. Rather, they wanted to tear the buildings down. From all the destruction comes preparation work for a new and improved waterfront area.
"We have a couple of descriptions for it. Bridge to Bridge, River to Rail, we also use the term Cable Bridge to Causeway," said Kennewick Planning/Economic Development Director Jeff Kossow.
It's a project with many names as the project itself has been in talks for more than five years.
"We're looking at master planning that area into a mixed use area that may have a wine village, it may have amenities for children, paths, walking paths. Create a Main Street USA," said Port of Kennewick Commissioner Skip Novakavich.
"We work closely with the port on those issues and figuring out exactly what they want it to look like and how can we help get them there. Obviously, it's in our best interests, as well. So, they're a good partner to have and we're very excited about the things that they've already accomplished and where it's heading," Kossow said.
The Port now owns 16 of the 28 acres between the bridges. They're in talks with business owners and tenants in the area to purchase the rest of the properties or find common ground for redevelopment.
"Our hope is that we minimize as much of the unknown as we can and really working very closely is a big part of that. We're all understanding what everybody's trying to accomplish and that's going well," Kossow said.
The Port of Kennewick has leveled four other buildings, so far. These redevelopment plans are still in the conceptual phase but projects like this one put them one step closer.