The Chelan Douglas Port Authority is entering into an agreement with a local firm to develop a warehouse in the Apple Packing District of Wenatchee. 

The building at the corner of Columbia Street and Orondo Avenue is part of a group of former warehouses in the area owned by the Port, which it's trying to revitalize. 

Port Board Vice President Donn Etherington thinks the development should include the features envisioned for the property, such as a parking area and a public plaza. 

"I personally see this as a transition from the downtown business core down to the Pybus Market, and all the great things that are happening there," said Etherington. "There's an opportunity to, kind of, fill in that gap and attract more people to that area." 

The Port approved a letter of intent with the firm JAB Investors Tuesday, with a goal of rejuvenating the building once an agreement for its purchase is complete. 

JAB's Adam Brizendine says his firm has plans for office space as well as retail businesses, restaurants, and even an exercise facility.   

"We've been exploring some options to do a community recreation facility," said Brizendine. "We've done some feasibility on doing that from the ground up on some other property we own. But this very well may be a nice spot to do some of that."  

 The Port chose to enter into the preliminary agreement with JAB after hearing presentations Tuesday from it and another firm known as TEAM. 

TEAM was eager to sign an actual purchase agreement to move forward with the building renovation. 

But some Port board members were concerned that TEAM did not plan include a number of priorities for the property, including a public plaza or parking lot . 

TEAM was also only interested in buying the entire building complex for the price of $1,620,520 (36,830 sq ft times $44 a sq ft).  

The Port is listing the entire complex – all buildings and two parcels – for a minimum sales price of $ 2,100,000. It will also consider selling the site’s North Building only for $1,050,000, or the South Building only for $1,300,000. 

The letter of intent with JAB Investors will allow the firm to conduct its own feasibility analysis of the structure and terminate the agreement if the property is not suitable for its use. 

JAB’s goal is to prepare architectural renderings associated with the development for the review, comment and approval of the Port prior to the expiration of the Feasibility Period. 

Brizendine mentioned Tuesday that a section of the building that is currently experiencing water leakage could be carved out to make way for a public plaza. He said his firm was in conversations with an existing restaurant about moving into the space.  

JAB would also move its entire fabrication business to the building. The company handles steel and stainless-steel fabrication that would bring truck traffic to the building. Brizendine said fabrication materials could be stored inside the building, given its large square footage.  

For its part, the Port has a priority of adaptive reuse of the properties in the warehouse district. 

The Columbia Street Overlay designation envisions the preservation of the industrial flavor of the District, while allowing new uses including loft live/work space, maker spaces, studios for dance or gymnastics, artisan retail, tasting rooms, breweries and offices. 

The Port would like the development character focused on maintaining the apple packing and warehousing history of the District. 

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