What's being built there? Goodbye, Old Country Buffet + Hello, Richland Panda Express

Feb. 26—Welcome to “What’s being built there?” the occasional Tri-City Herald feature that answers readers questions about the construction taking place across the Tri-Cities.

Send your questions to [email protected].


Union Place Commercial

2601 S. Union Place

A 7,841-square-foot multi-tenant building rising up near Highway 395 and West 27th Street will contain a gym, an office and a drive-thru coffee shop, according to site plans filed with the city.

The new building is going up near Cynergy Center, in the bend of South Union Place and West 26th in the Southridge area. The construction of the shell building is valued at $500,000. Tenants have not been announced.

Old Country Buffet

6821 W. Canal Drive

The building that formerly housed Old Country Buffet at the Colonnade shopping center appears to be slated for redevelopment.

The property has been fenced off. An inactive marketing brochure indicates it will be replaced with a 10,980-square-foot building with two businesses “soon.” Renderings indicate it could be leased to a bakery/sandwich style business like a Panera and to a wellness clinic.

The property is under contract but brokers could not disclose the tenant until the deal is final.

The site is near Office Depot, Best Buy and Outback Steakhouse. It is about one block east of the future Chick-fil-A restaurant. It is owned by Hogback Canal Drive LLC, an arm of the Yakima developer that has developed numerous retail projects in the Tri-Cities. Hogback paid $1.6 million for the former restaurant in 2022.

No building permit has been issued, but the property has attracted several nuisance complaints about unkempt landscape and Dumpster lids being left open. One complainer suggested it be converted into a “Covid 19 memorial.”

Old Country Buffet closed its Columbia Center mall location in early 2019 and later shuttered the Canal location amid a company bankruptcy..

This update was suggested by a reader. Thank you for your tip.

Goodwill Industries of the Columbia

Donation Station

3813 Plaza Way

Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Inc., is building a 3,200-square-foot donation drop-off receiving and sorting facility in the Southridge area.

The project has a construction value of $333,000, according to building permit data. Chervenell Construction Co. is the contractor.

Benton County Voting Center

7400 W. Quinault Ave.

Benton County is converting a closed Kennewick fire station into its new election center. The 1978-built fire station closed when the city opened a new station at Vista Field.

Benton County bought the fire station for $11 million last March 2023.

The $2.3 million renovation began in January and includes a full interior renovation of the 5,700-square-foot building, new HVAC equipment, plumbing, electrical, data and security systems.

Banlin Construction is the contractor for the project. MMEC Architecture & Interiors LLC is the designer.Richland

Panda Express update

924 George Washington Way

Construction proceeds on Panda Express at a high-profile location on George Washington Way in Richland. The 2,600-square-foot restaurant will be the fifth Panda Express in the Tri-Cities and will have a drive-thru.

The site was once home to the Tri-Cities’ first Red Robin Gourmet Burgers restaurant, which operated as a buffet after the original tenant moved out. It was demolished in early 2023.

This story was originally published February 26, 2024, 12:32 PM.

(c)2024 Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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