Boise Cascade Mill Site Get Economic Study That Gives Glimpse In - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Boise Cascade Mill Site Get Economic Study That Gives Glimpse Into Possible Development

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YAKIMA, WA. -- With all the recent projects going on in Yakima, like the downtown master plan, there hasn't been much talk about the development at the Boise Cascade Mill site. 

But that doesn't mean that the city hasn't been working to move forward with the renovations. The Boise Cascade Mill site has been an eye sore for years in a Yakima neighborhood. Despite not making headlines lately, work is still on-going to develop the 170 acres into a place Yakima can be proud of. And changes could come very soon. 

It has sat for years like this. Empty and well, ugly. But before buying the 170 acres, with 28 acres of municipal waste that needs cleaning, the city had to know what return on investment they could yield. 

"We want to make sure that we, the city, has a good handle on what the economic return would be before we decide how much we invest in cleanup," Joan Davenport, Community Development Director said. 

Now the city has some concrete ideas of what could eventually spring up on this land. According to an economic impact study, office space would bring in $95,000 per year in revenue. Retail, about $82,000 a year.

The lowest yield would be amusement space, like the state fair grounds, which would actually cost the city an estimated $30,000. But that doesn't mean it's won't be included in the development. 

"Quite the opposite," Reginald Ross, Director of Econometrics for Jones Lang LaSalle. "We think amusement, calibrated and sized as part of a longer term strategy for driving retail traffic to the site would be great use for it actually."

One thing is definitely clear, something, anything needs to replace what is already here. And the hope is that it can help drive some of the local economy.

"If there was one larger point to all of it is that putting almost anything there, almost anything might be strong, but putting something else there is more likely than not going to improve all of the residences around there," Ross said.

"We want a very attractive development that leaves a good impression for our residents and people traveling by it.," Davenport said. "We want jobs."

For now the space sits, waiting for it's new form to take shape. But a clearer picture is starting to form. 

Plans are already in the works to build a road that would travel through the mill site and connect with an interchange with Interstate 82. The rest of the development is still very much in the air.