The Chelan County PUD is moving closer to choosing a firm that'll redevelop the 5th Street campus its moving out of.

The process was narrowed to two finalists June 20, and this week PUD commissioners heard comments from the public and an advisory group involved in the project.

PUD director of shared services Dan Frazier says there was universal support for relocating the YMCA at the site, which was included in both proposals.

"They thought that was a great anchor for the site," said Frazier. "I think the YMCA has been out in the community talking about what opportunities they have, and this was one of their selected sites that they would like to relocate to. I think there's a lot of support there."

Frazier said both proposals notably call for a high level of public funding to supplement the project.

"So there's infrastructure," Frazier said. "There's traffic improvements, street improvements, water, power, all those different things. So we need to really dig down into what that will be and how that gets done."

The feedback for the project also included nine emailed public comments and a letter of interest from the Music Theatre of Wenatchee to buy the fish and wldlife building on the property and the adjacent parking area.

Frazier also mentioned that both proposals planned for traffic flow through the grounds back to Columbia Street to ease congestion on both Wenatchee Ave. and 5th Street.

The next step for the project will take place during the next few weeks when the advisory group will fine tune its recommendations, and then ask commissioners to act on them.

The final selection on which finalist will be awarded the project is expected on Sept. 19.

Construction of the project could start in 2023 after the PUD leaves the site for its new headquarters in Olds Station.

The two developers who are the finalists for the project are GTS/Avara/Graham Baba and Steinhauer Properties.

GTS Proposal for Future Use of Chelan PUD Fifth Street Campus
GTS Proposal for Future Use of Chelan PUD Fifth Street Campus
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Project Vision for future of Chelan PUD Fifth Street Campus from Steinhauer Properties
Project Vision for future of Chelan PUD Fifth Street Campus from Steinhauer Properties
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Feedback Common to both Proposals

Positives/Questions

  • Inclusion and location of YMCA has tremendous support
  • Appreciate the improved circulation through the site from Fifth to the south
  • Good incorporation of Community Vision document goals and objectives; meets “big picture” for downtown Questions and/or Concerns
  • Lack of information on how the YMCA and Music Theatre fit into both proposals
  • How does the development connect with rest of downtown and with the nearby waterfront?
  • How will large (7 story) buildings feel within the existing scale of downtown? How will they make them fit in?
  • High level of public funding required for infrastructure
  • How do recent economic events (i.e. changing interest rates & real estate markets) affect proposals?

GTS/Avara/Graham Baba

Positives

  • Appreciate reuse of two buildings
  • Realistic phasing plan (8-10 years)
  • One-way central circulation
  • Ambitious use of site
  • Developer’s connection to the region

Questions & Concerns

  • Is this too much for this site to support?
  • Will underground parking be feasible?
  • Lack of identified retail space
  • Would mix of apartments & condos work?
  • Why include over 300,000 s.f office space?
  • Vehicular/pedestrian conflicts in plaza area
  • Café in SE corner seems out of place
  • Does this make Wenatchee Ave the backdoor to the site?

Steinhauer Properties

Positives

  • Great experience with similar projects
  • Appropriate site use intensity
  • Developer’s connection to the region
  • Mix of surface and under-building parking
  • Good improvement to frontage

Questions & Concerns

  • Lack of architectural detail
  • Would mix of apartments & condos work?
  • Where is the retail/restaurant space?
  • More developed streetscape and focus on Wenatchee Ave
  • Is a 211-room upscale hotel viable?
  • Concern about 7 stories at Intersection of Fifth and Wenatchee Ave
  • How is the anticipated public investment accomplished