For sale: 1,544 acres next to Fancher Heights for $7 million

EAST WENATCHEE — A golf course, a resort, Fancher Heights 2.0?

There are a lot of possibilities for a 1,544-acre property on the north end of East Wenatchee owned by the Reiman family. And for the first time in nearly 80 years the land is for sale, with an asking price of $7 million.

“Obviously East Wenatchee is growing and, from my understanding, this property seems to be the next logical expansion in East Wenatchee. Fancher Heights is just a little bit away, there’s only a little canyon between it and us,” said real estate agent Paul Shapard, who’s representing the property.

The land stretches across four parcels, starting next to Fancher Heights to the south and running north past the Odabashian Bridge, almost to Rocky Reach Dam.

Several generations of the Reiman family have owned and lived on the land, Shapard said. There are a few large wheat fields, but most of the property is undeveloped.

“It has a long history and this is the first time any of the parcels have become available since 1940,” Shapard said. “... They’ve just decide at this moment in time that they’d like to market the property.”

It was first listed online in June and signs were put up at the property entrance in July. So far, Shapard said, interest has been strong.

Due to the land’s expansive views, Shapard thinks it would be a great place for a golf course or resort, he said. But any prospective buyer will have to invest heavily in infrastructure, because most of the property isn’t connected to power, water or sewer, he said.

“I’ve been happy with how people have responded and I have a few interested parties,” he said. “I don’t think this will be a quick process. It’s more like a marathon than a sprint. … We want to make sure the right person is the right fit for Wenatchee.”

Downtown's smallest food option

WENATCHEE — The “wurst” restaurant in Wenatchee has opened downtown — and it also might be the smallest.

Wurst on the Ave is a hotdog stand tucked into the front of the Savings and Loan Building on the corner of Palouse Street and Wenatchee Avenue. Owner Lisa Sanchez opened for business in June.

As one of the only quick-bite options in the downtown core, Sanchez hopes to serve the people who live and work in the area, she said.

“I walk downtown fairly often to get some exercise and there’s several options for going in and sitting down, but I thought ‘I wonder why there’s not a taco truck or something down here?’” she said. “So when I saw this sliding window I thought ‘What a perfect place to have some hot dogs, something quick.”

Sanchez has been in the food service industry for most of her life and her family had a restaurant in Leavenworth for many years, she said. She’s been eyeing this small space for years, and finally the timing lined up to open something there.

“A couple years ago I thought about putting this here, and then it was available and I was available so it worked,” she said.

Now Sanchez serves hot dogs, bratwursts, potato salad, snow cones and lemonade every weekday from 11:30 a.m to 3:30 p.m.

One of her most popular fares is the Smokey Joe, a ½-pound kielbasa with smoky mayonnaise.

“That makes it unique because usually when you think sausages, you think stone-ground mustard and sauerkraut,” she said.

Sanchez stores, preps and serves just about everything from her small shop, which is “much different” from the restaurants she’s worked in before, she said.

But the window? That’s always been the fun part for her.

“I started working a drive-in window when I was 14 and I absolutely loved it,” she said. “I’ve been telling my family for many years that I’d like to just have a drive-up or walk-up window, like when I was young. So I enjoy it, it’s fun and people are usually in a good mood.”

Ferry Street Market is for sale

WENATCHEE — The Ferry Street Market, a mainstay of South Wenatchee, was put up for sale in July.

Both the business and its two-story building are for sale, said real estate agent Nick McLean, whose company is listing the property. Its asking price is $850,000.

“The business is well established and has been there forever,” he said. “The building is 4,600 square feet and being in a residential area, it’s nice to be conveniently located for whoever wants to own the business.”

The market’s current owners, Ruben and Maria Ramirez, have owned it since 2006, according to Chelan County Assessor Records. 

The building has two commercial spaces on its main floor and two upstairs apartments, according to the listing. It was built in 1926.

Chipotle moving into former Cafe Rio building

WENATCHEE — Chipotle Mexican Grill is bringing its first Wenatchee restaurant to the former Cafe Rio building in the 1100 block of North Mission Street, according to city records.

The city of Wenatchee issued a building permit for the remodel on Aug. 8. The build-out of the location is estimated to cost $800,000, according to city records.

The company confirmed in May that it intended to open a Wenatchee location “at some point in the fall,” but didn’t specify where it would be. A company spokeswoman said in an email Friday that she didn’t have any other information to provide.

Chipotle at that time had a pair of Wenatchee-based job openings for a general manager and service manager posted on the national recruiting site Indeed.com.

The building has been vacant since Cafe Rio — a Utah-based chain that also serves custom-made Mexican food — closed in 2016. Before that, the building housed an Arby’s.

Chipotle has more than 2,000 locations across the U.S. and its closest current restaurant is in Kennewick.

Fairfield Inn & Suites opens in East Wenatchee

EAST WENATCHEE — The Fairfield by Marriott Inn & Suites, a new 99-room hotel on Valley Mall Parkway in East Wenatchee, opened for business Aug. 1.

It’s the second hotel to open this year in the Wenatchee Valley; the waterfront Hilton Garden Inn began operating in Wenatchee this spring. At 176 rooms, it’s the largest hotel in the valley. There are four other hotels planned for the area.

The Fairfield will be managed by the Ignite Corp. of Richland and is owned by the company East Wenatchee Hospitality, LLC.

That company is registered to Gurbir and Sukhbir Sandu, who own several hotels in the state, including the Wenatchee Red Lion, according to Washington state Department of Revenue records.

The new Fairfield hotel has an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center and a lounge with a full-service bar, according to a company press release.

It’s East Wenatchee’s first new hotel since the Cedars Inn opened in 1995, according to Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce records. The city has one other hotel, a SureStay by Best Western that opened in 1979.

WinCo eyeing former Shopko building for new grocery store

WENATCHEE — WinCo Foods, the low-cost bulk supermarket, is exploring opening a new store in the former Shopko building on North Wenatchee Avenue.

The company sent plans for the proposed new location to the city of Wenatchee in July and requested a pre-application meeting, according to city documents. 

Pre-application meetings give developers and city staff an opportunity to discuss a proposed project before the permitting process starts.

Shopko announced in May the closure of its Wenatchee and Quincy locations as it grapples with a bankruptcy — they were among more than 200 locations that have closed across the U.S. The Wenatchee Shopko’s optical department will continue to operate in a new location.

WinCo plans to remodel the interior and exterior of the Shopko building and add signage to the outside, according to city documents.

The project — which hasn’t been approved — is still in the earliest stages of development, so there is no known timeline for when construction could start or when it may open.

WinCo is based in Boise and has 126 stores across the west. Its nearest location is Moses Lake.

Report: Wenatchee is No. 12 in the nation

WENATCHEE — The total number of jobs in the Wenatchee area increased 19.3% over the last five years, faster than any other metro area in the state, according to a report released this summer from 24/7 Wall Street, a financial news website.

The report analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the fastest-growing job markets in the nation. It ranked Wenatchee No. 12 on its top-20 list.

Wenatchee added 10,190 jobs over the past five years, according to the BLM data. As of May, there were 62,857 people employed in the area, which was the most recent data available.

In that same five-year period, Wenatchee’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.2% to 4.9%.

The leisure and hospitality industry saw the largest jump, according to the report, adding more than 1,800 jobs.

That industry has grown 4.4 percent in the last year alone, according to data from the state Employment Security Department. As of May 2019, it had 7,100 people employed.

And Wenatchee may continue to see growth in that industry — there are four new hotels planned for the Wenatchee Valley, in addition to the two that were just built this year.

Wenatchee’s total labor force has also increased. Over the last decade, it grew 10%, or 6,312 people, according to the data. The area’s median household income is now $58,990.

Wenatchee was the highest ranking Washington metro area on the 24/7 Wall Street list. Olympia-Tumwater was No. 13, Kennewick-Richland was No. 15 and Bellingham was No. 20.

The report ranked St. George, Utah, as the No. 1 fastest-growing job market in the nation. It added 15,163 jobs in the five-year period, an increase of 25.7 percent, according to the report.

Ridge joins season pass program

WENATCHEE — Starting this winter, Mission Ridge Ski & Board season passholders will have discounted access to the slopes of 19 other ski destinations in four countries.

It’s part of the Powder Alliance, a reciprocal pass program that Mission Ridge just joined, according to a press release.

A season pass holder from any member resort can show their pass at any other member resort to receive free access during the weekday and half price on the weekend. Holiday periods are excluded.

Some of the other members include Mt Hood Ski Bowl, Sugar Bowl Resort in California and La Parva in Chile, according to the release.

Mission Ridge has had reciprocal pass deals with other individual resorts in the past, but this will offer patrons a lot more options, said Marketing Director Tony Hickok.

Mission Ridge’s season pass prices vary depending on a person’s age and their time of purchase, but an adult season pass is currently on sale for $629, according to the resort’s website.