WENATCHEE — The Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority re-entered into a $2 million purchase-and-sale agreement with S.P.O.R.T. Gymnastics on Wednesday.
The agreement appeared in jeopardy in August after the Port opted not to renew it following missed deadlines from S.P.O.R.T. The termination of the agreement resulted in S.P.O.R.T forfeiting a $100,000 deposit to the Port.
The company will have the opportunity to put that deposit toward the purchase price of the buildings if the sale goes through. A $7,500 fee required under a new addendum to the agreement is not eligible to be credited against the purchase price.
The Port had previously expressed that it would wait until S.P.O.R.T. finalized its financing plan before reapproaching the agreement. However, Port CEO Jim Kuntz said the Port decided to recognize the investments S.P.O.R.T. itself has made by extending the agreement.
“The Regional Port would like to see this project proceed,” Kuntz said. “It has the potential to be an impressive adaptive reuse project for downtown Wenatchee.”
S.P.O.R.T is planning a multi-use activity center on the corner of Columbia Street and Orondo Avenue, a property formerly owned by Lineage Logistics that totals 36,830 square feet.
Under the new addendum, S.P.O.R.T must submit a permit application to the city of Wenatchee by mid-January. It’s also required to have financing in place on or before the permitting deadline of March 1, 2022. The project’s developer, Flint Hartwig, said that timeline will be a tight turnaround for the city.
“I have not seen the city turn anything around that fast in years, so we’ll see if that works out,” he said. “I’m a little worried about that timeline, but I’m confident that we’ll work through it.”
He’s more optimistic about the project’s financing. He said he’d like to bring in $5 million in investments and believes the project can raise $2 million to $3 million in the first round of investors.
“We haven’t had our legal ducks in a row to actually start taking people’s money, but that will start this week,” Hartwig said, adding the project is also looking for a restaurant to partner with.
To make the development more manageable, Hartwig has broken it into three phases:
- Phase One (estimated 9 months): A “funplex” in the south building featuring slides, a foam pit and a restaurant. The phase also includes exterior improvements as well as plumbing, HVAC and parking.
- Phase Two (estimated 6 months): North building, which will include martial arts, yoga, gymnastics and a kid care area.
- Phase Three (estimated completion January 2024): Roof-top improvements, including a bar.
“The idea is to get the part done that I think it’s going to be the most popular with the public, get the door open and start getting revenue while we build out the second phase,” Hartwig said. If enough funding comes in, phase one and two may be completed simultaneously.
The project has taken on Dr. Stu Freed as a consultant and offered him a spot on its board following the development’s completion. Freed, whose daughter is one of the project’s lead designers, will focus on communication strategy, including updates to the Port.
“This accountability is welcomed and will help all involved stay focused,” Freed said. “I am excited to be involved in some small way to help a project such as this. The past year and a half has been rough. I look forward to bringing a new opportunity to gather together, have fun and share a meal, in an exciting new venue right downtown.”