WENATCHEE — The Port of Chelan Commission on Tuesday agreed to move forward with a purchase of 125,000 square feet of mixed-use industrial space in Wenatchee’s core.
The three commissioners unanimously approved the $4.5 million sale, which works out to roughly $36 per square foot.
“This is this really cool missing link that we have and you couldn’t have positioned it in a better place,” Commissioner Rory Turner said during the meeting. “You have the waterfront, Pybus, this exploding downtown and hotels, and then these (buildings). I’m very passionate about this because this is what I just love doing.”
The port plans to divide Lineage Logistics’ southern campus, which straddles both sides of Orondo Street at the cross of Columbia Street.
Once the properties are divided, they’ll be sold back to private developers, several of whom have already reached out to the port, executive director Jim Kuntz said during the meeting.
The port has already contracted an engineering firm to analyze the property’s possible environmental impacts. The commission on Tuesday also approved port staff to submit a bid for an Environmental Protection Agency grant.
The program, called the Brownfield Assessment Grants, allows communities to receive up to $600,000 for environmental or redevelopment studies on up to five different sites that may have “the potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant,” according to documents from the EPA.
The port plans to partner with the city of Wenatchee for the bid, Kuntz said during the meeting. The sites haven’t been finalized, but both Lineage’s Wenatchee campuses — which were used for refrigerated and dry storage for decades— are being considered.
The Chelan County PUD’s headquarters on Fifth Street, the former silicon smelter in Rock Island and Alcoa’s idled plant near Malaga are also on the shortlist.
Grant applications are due Dec. 3 and the grants will be awarded in May 2020, according to port commission meeting documents.
Commissioners on Tuesday also approved a rate hike on its county property tax levy. Using banked levy capacity, the new rate for property holders will be $0.2399 per $1,000 of assessed property value, according to commission meeting documents.
Currently, taxpayers are paying $0.2348 per $1,000 of assessed property value, according to the documents.
On a $325,000 home, the port’s levy will go from $76.31 per year to $77.96, an increase of $1.65, according to the documents.
The increase will add $275,360 to the port’s annual tax collection, according to the documents. The additional money will be used to help fund Pangborn Memorial Airport and the consolidated port district.
The port on Tuesday also approved its 2020 budget and set commission meeting dates for next year.