Design work for a proposed Craft District in Wenatchee could start as early as September. 

The district is planned for an empty warehouse between downtown and Pybus Market and would be anchored by several craft beer brewing businesses. 

Before and After Image of Craft District from CDRPA
Before and After Image of Craft District from CDRPA

Chelan Douglas Port Director of Economic Development & Capital Projects Stacy de Mestre says the design work would be a significant step forward for the project. 

"Right now, we just have the initial concept and renderings, but we'd actually start working on the architectural design, and also looking at what site work and utilities and infrastructure would need to be upgraded to move forward with the development," said de Mestre. 

The Port is applying for a grant from the state Department of Commerce to begin designing the craft district. 

Craft District Image from Okanogan Ave. and Columbia St. from CDRPA
Craft District Image from Okanogan Ave. and Columbia St. from CDRPA

The grant would be for $100,000 and require a 20% match from the Port. It would come through the Commerce Department's Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB). The board will look over the Port's application on September 19.  

de Mestre says they've worked with CERB often, with the board granting funds for a feasibility study on what is now becoming the Trades District near Pangborn Airport.  

Craft District Interior - from CDRPA
Craft District Interior - from CDRPA

CERB also has future pots of money for low interest loans and other funding for projects to stimulate economic growth. 

The craft district is proposed for a warehouse at the corner of Orondo Avenue and Columbia Street.  

de Mestre says there appears to be strong interest from businesses wanting to set up shop in the building. 

"There is interest from the craft beverage industry," said de Mestre. "I also have someone who is looking to do an indoor playground, which we've heard a lot from the community that that's something that everyone would like to see in that area. And then we're also looking at a few restaurants and vendors as well." 

Craft District Patio space - from CDRPA
Craft District Patio space - from CDRPA

The Port invested $4.5 million to purchase nine buildings totaling roughly 130,000 square feet that bridge the downtown Wenatchee core to the waterfront in 2019. 

The building proposed for the craft district is known as Building H (at Orondo and Columbia). 

The Port has engaged with a handful of private developers to bring businesses to the building, but no one has been successful.   

The cost of the improvements needed to transform the buildings into a new use outweighs the revenue that they could generate. 

The Port is now actively seeking breweries, wineries, cideries, and restaurants as anchor tenants.   

They're also looking to incorporate other amenities and creative sector businesses into the district such as: 

  • Distilleries 
  • Food Trucks 
  • Art Galleries or Dealers 
  • Glass Blower 
  • Jewelry Manufacturer/Retailer 
  • Cooking School 
  • Art School 
  • Music Store  
  • Theater/Performing Arts Company  
  • Photography Studio 
  • Sound Recording Studio  
  • Dance Studio 
  • Indoor Recreation 
  • Pet Spa/Park  

The middle portion of the craft district building is currently designed to be a covered open-air space. 

de Mestre said it's hoped the space could provide outdoor entertainment space that could be used year-round, regardless of weather conditions. 

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