Plans are being refined for a possible "craft" district in an empty warehouse between downtown Wenatchee and Pybus Market.  

The warehouse at the corner of Orondo Ave. and Columbia St. would be turned into a hub of several micro-breweries along with compatible surrounding businesses.  

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

Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority Director of Economic Development & Capital Projects Stacie de Mestre says they're focusing on breweries because those businesses can pay higher rents. 

"I think if we get the right tenant mix, the lease revenue can support the investment that's needed to transform those buildings," said de Mestre. 

The cost of improvements needed to transform the warehouse into a new use has outweighed the revenue that previous proposals for the building could generate. 

Two other plans from private developers to redevelop the entire warehouse failed to materialize. 

de Mestre says they're looking for several anchor tenants for the project. 

"I think that's what we're going for, three of four anchor tenants that are in, I would say, the craft beverage industry," said de Mestre. "And then we would infill other space with other businesses, hopefully related to the creative sector." 

An update on the project from the Port says they're actively seeking breweries, wineries, cideries, and restaurants as anchor tenants. 

The idea to incorporate micro-breweries stemmed from the proposals the Port received to take over space occupied by Badger Mountain Brewing, which went out of business in January. The space is across the street from the warehouse where the craft district is planned. 

The Port owns both buildings and received three proposals to occupy the Badger Mountain space, including from Blewett Brewing in Leavenworth and Kulshan Brewing Company of Bellingham. All three proposals projected the ability to pay monthly rents in excess of $6,000, which the Port has targeted as a figure needed to transform the warehouse space into a new use. 

Blewett Brewing was chosen for the Badger Mountain space, and there are plans to have the site up and running again this year 

de Mestre recently attended a craft brewing conference in Las Vegas, where she says there was support for the concept of the craft district planned for Wenatchee. 

An update from the Port says they're seeking creative sector businesses as supporting tenants in the district. 

They include: 

  • 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  

Creative sector supporting tenants are being sought partly because the Washington State Department of Commerce released a Strategic Plan identifying $20 million in investments to grow and strengthen the creative economy, with funding likely being available for projects like the craft district 

de Mestre said the craft district will likely take three to four years to materialize if it's finalized for development. 

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Gallery Credit: Stacker

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