The Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority is working to get the Trades District up and running in the Pangborn Airport Business Park. 

The Port is still looking for a contractor to make improvements to small buildings, or pods, that'll serve as an incubator for startup businesses. 

Trades District Source: Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority. Trades District Campus map.
Trades District Source: Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority.
Trades District Campus map.

Port Authority Director of Economic Development and Capital Projects Stacy de Mestre says they're looking for a wide range of businesses to set up shop in the Trades District. 

"Maybe metal workers, woodworkers, cabinet shops, any sort of specialty trade workers, like a startup HVAC contractor, a plumber, anyone looking for production space, maybe someone that's starting up a bakery or a microbrewery," said de Mestre. 

She said the tenants could include retail businesses. 

“The zoning allows for it,” de Mestre said. “So, maybe we’d have an artist up there and they’d have an art studio, or someone who’s is roasting coffee and they could be open business hours to sell coffee and pastries. So, we’re just looking for a really eclectic mix of tenants.”  

The Trades District will open once improvements are made to the buildings and landscape inside it.  

Trades District layout from Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority
Trades District layout from Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority

The Port has budgeted $10,221,528 to make a number of upgrades.   

There's an extended amount of site work that needs to be done, according to de Mestre. Individual utilities need to be brought into each building. Also, sidewalks, landscaping, and parking areas need to be added. The average square footage inside each building (600 sq. ft.) will be doubled and sometimes tripled. 

Most of the funding for the project is coming through state and federal grants. The federal grant money is tied to a requirement that the project includes an incubator program with reduced rents for the tenants. 

The Port received five bids for the project from Halme Construction (several Washington locations), Schuchart Construction from Seattle, Central Cascades Land Company of Cle Elum, Absher Construction Co from Puyallup, and Lydig Construction of Bellevue. 

All bids were higher than the Port's $10.2 million budget. The bid from Halme Construction was the lowest at 11,450,000 but was still more than a million dollars over the target. 

Port commissioners declined all the bids at their most recent meeting and decided to have staff take another look at the budget to see if any changes are needed. 

de Mestre said they planned to send the project out to bid again quickly. 

Grant money for the project includes $5 million from the federal Economic Development Administration, also known as the EDA, $3 million from the Washington State Capital Budget, and $1 million from the state Department of Commerce. 

The 8-acre site with 25 pods in varying stages of construction was originally the brainchild of the now failed cryptocurrency company Giga Watt.   

The site was handed over to the Port Authority as part of Giga Watt’s bankruptcy arrangement. 

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