Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Sunday, November 12, 2006

"Wal-Mart's the fly paper"

That confirms what many Pullman residents have argued all along, said Tom Forbes, a Wal-Mart supporter and member of Businesses and Residents for Economic Opportunity.

“Not only does evidence not exist to support the idea of urban blight, we believe evidence exists (Wal-Mart) will stimulate the Pullman economy,” Forbes said. “Now that approval has come, we think we’ll start to see new businesses announced.”

- Moscow-Pullman Daily News, February 25, 2006
That was 9 months ago. What has happened since then? Was I just "shilling" for Wal-Mart, as the PARDners claim? This past Saturday's Daily News provided some answers:
Pullman seeing surge in retail space development

Brlesford and others make room for new businesses

Pullman's residential construction has been growing considerably, and now it's time for retail space to catch up, said Pullman developer Duane Brelsford Jr.

A number of other developers feel the same way, judging from the new retail space that's cropping up around town.

The building on Grand Avenue that used to house Penguin Plumbing is being remodled to provide about 16,000 square feet of retail space. A local landowner plans to add 10 or 12 retail buildings near Crimosn & Gray. The old bowling alley on Grand Avenue will torn down and replaced with 9,000 or 10,000 square feet of retail space.

Justin Pearce, a developer from Walla Walla, has been working on the Penguin Plumbing Building since May. He's owned the building for six years.

"It was a well-built old building that just really needed a facelift," said Pearce, who also developed the building on Stadium Way that houses Barnes and Noble and Blockbuster.

The Grand Avenue building is slated to be used as retail space. It could hold anywhere from two to 10 tenants depending on their size, he said.

A number of people have already shown interest in the building, which should be open next summer, Pearce said.

"There's limited retail space on the North end of town in Pullman," Pearce said. A lot of retailers would like to be in that area because of the high rate of traffic that passes by.

Brelsford recently purchased Pete's Bar and Grill, the old Taco Bell building and the old Bowling Alley - all on South Grand Avenue.

Brelsford is looking to lease the Taco Bell building, and he said he's had a few inquiries. He plans to tear down the old bowling alley next spring to make way for retail space.

Pete's Bar and Grill will stay as such.

Brelsford is in the process of trying to get almost 10 acres of land across from McDonald's and Arby's annexed into the city. He's planning a 100,000-square foot retail space in that area.

He's also had interest for a 140,000 square foot, single-user retail space on Bishop Boulevard, although he can't say yet who would occupy that space.

Vandervelt Developments, a Spokane-based company, has started construction on a building across from the Holiday Inn Express on Bishop Boulevard.

It's one of the the first buildings in the planned Crimson Village, which will include new buildings around Crimson & Gray, said Chris Bornhoft, development coordinator for Vandervelt.

Crimson Village will be a sort of retail shopping center, he said. It could include anything from banks to small stores to larger stores to medical offices to restaurants. The landscaping includes water features and all the buildings will have a similar style.

Bornhoft has three potential tenants interested in the building across from the Holiday Inn, which should open in March. It's still too early in the process to say who the tenants will be, but he said they are some name-brand national chains.

Businesses are clamoring to get into the area, Bornhoft said.

He said there isn't much retail space to be had for those looking to locate near the proposed Wal-Mart, which will be built on Bishop Boulevard.

Wal-Mart attracts a lot of shoppers, and other businesses want to situate themselves nearby, Bornhoft said. There already is is a booming demand for retail space in that area.

"Everybody wants to be by Wal-Mart," Brelsford said. "Wal-Mart's the fly paper."
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