Developer turning vacant Richland office building to apartment high-rise

Another apartment high-rise is heading to downtown Richland.

Boost Builds purchased 7.21 acres of land from the City of Richland. The sale of 1100 and 1200 Jadwin Ave. was unanimously approved Tuesday night by City Council. Previously, the land was under a ground lease since 1976. This means it was for rent.

However, Boost Builds owned the buildings. They bought them in April 2018 with the hope of giving them some TLC.

“It really just needs a facelift and modernization,” said John Crook, the developer with Boost Builds. “We think more and more people want to live in — close to the urban core.”

1200 Jadwin Ave. has been vacant for at least four years. The six-story office building will be converted into a 137-unit apartment building.

“We have tremendous views. The Columbia River is right across the street,” Crook said.

Renderings of the apartment are still in the works.

“I anticipate that we’ll be working on that design through the remainder of the year,” Crook explained. “Hopefully 2020 we’ll be able to begin that work as well.”

At 1100 Jadwin Ave., the office building is currently occupied. There are about six to seven companies inside. Crook wants to bring the building up-to-date.

“The common areas will be modernized,” he said. “More importantly, we’re installing control access.”​​​​​

Construction is already underway, and they expect to be done with 1100 Jadwin by Jan. 2020.

As for parking, Boost Builds owns a pretty big piece. However, the City of Richland still owns 2.81 acres.

“We’re going through a downtown connectivity study right now and there may be an opportunity in the future to provide new streets in the downtown area or different alignment of current streets in the downtown area,” said Kerwin Jensen, Development Services Director for the City of Richland.

Both Jensen and Crooks don’t believe the apartment building will impact traffic.

“A couple 100 apartment units really aren’t going to — you’re not going to see any large impacts at all to our traffic situation,” Jensen explained.

On the outside of the building, an area for tenants to gather. Boost Builds will remove the old bank drive-thru and asphalt to make room for a grassy area.

“More of a park-like setting for the occupants of the building to come out and eat lunch,” Crook said. “A little bit better outside environment than walking out on the concrete.”

Boost Builds has already constructed a small walkway leading from 1100 Jadwin to the back parking lot. It goes right over a creek that can use a little work.

“The creek itself is quite overgrown from lack of attention over the years so a significant part of our project is to clear that out and re-landscape it so it becomes more of a park-like amenity,” Crook said.

They also plan to make a new roadway for convenience for the tenants.

“It will be a straight shot in from Kadlec Way, and then there will be a very generous parking curve for pick-up and drop off,” Crook explained.

Boost Builds hopes to start construction of the apartment building in mid-2020. The city is excited to see what the revamp has in store.

“We’re happy with what they plan on doing to improve the property there so that was a major reason we looked favorably upon selling the property to them,” Jensen explained. “Their whole goal is to provide vibrancy and bring residential units to the downtown area.”