Wal-Mart, growth appear to boost interest in Eagle PointThat last sentence totally hits the nail on the head about why we need a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pullman. Hundreds of new residents are moving here every year. We must provide the infrastructure to support that residential growth. That means not only increasing our tax base, but also expanding shopping, dining, and entertainment amenities as well.
By SANNE SPECHT
EAGLE POINT — The anticipated arrival of a Wal-Mart Supercenter and continuing growth are jump-starting the town’s formerly flagging business community, city officials and developers say.
Hard on the heels of the city’s approval last summer to build a 184,719-square-foot Wal-Mart in a 25-acre business park between Highway 62 and Hannon Road, the city’s planning department began receiving applications for new restaurants and service businesses, said City Administrator Dave Hussell.
"Other businesses are showing up as a result of Wal-Mart," Hussell said.
As Wal-Mart anticipates a 2006 holiday opening, two new business parks are under way on Highway 62, said City Planner Bunny Lincoln.
Creekside Center and Eagle Landing will each host five or six businesses, including fast-food restaurants and office and retail space, Lincoln and Hussell say.
"There has been more interest in commercial property than we’ve had in a long time," Hussell said.
Tom Bradley is a commercial real estate broker working with Eagle Landing developers Peter and Chris Buckland and Bob Roland. Bradley said Wal-Mart’s decision to build in Eagle Point could be viewed as validating to some developers. But others could view the mega-store as a competing interest, he said.
Bradley said supply-and-demand economics are driving business development. Eagle Point’s population now tops 7,500 — having grown 58 percent since the 2000 census. [That's around Pullman's non-student population]
"I would characterize the growth as a response to an increasing demand for goods and services," Bradley said.
Although he declined to name specific companies, Bradley said he is "close to signing a number of leases" in the new business strip.
Whatever the reason for the increased commercial interest in the north end of town, it will supplement the area’s already established businesses, said Hussell.
Residential growth is continuing throughout Eagle Point, Hussell said. There are currently 20 subdivisions in various stages of development, he said.
The north-side business and residential areas will benefit from a new lighted intersection at Highway 62 and Crystal Drive, he added.
"The intersection will become a major collector accommodating the northern section of town," Hussell said.
While Wal-Mart may have heightened business interest near the highway location, the older sections of downtown Eagle Point have not seen the same boom, said Hussell. [Luckily, downtown Pullman is already being revitalized]
The City Council has appointed an economic development commission to create a "town center plan," he said.
After reviewing proposals, Hussell said the commission will work with Hardy Engineering and Don Burt to formalize a plan for Main Street-area businesses.
The commission and engineering firm will work with city staff, local merchants and community members to revitalize the downtown business area, said Hussell.
"We need to concentrate on jobs, places to shop and general business health," said Hussell. "We have an obligation to provide the infrastructure to support the residential growth."
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