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Business expansion coming to Waitsburg in Port of Walla Walla property

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Waitsburg Business Park plat map

Plat map for the Waitsburg Business Park, from the Port of Walla Walla’s website.

WAITSBURG — Two new operators may be coming to the Port of Walla Walla’s Business Park here.

Port commissioners last week authorized staff to draw real estate contracts for the sale of two lots in the light industrial park adjacent to U.S. Highway 12 and the Port of Columbia’s railroad line.

The Port of Walla Walla has been working with representatives of Valley Septic and Portable Restroom Service and Himark Custom Fab LLC on the purchase of Lots 2 and 6, respectively.

Lot 2 is 1.629 acres next to Lot 1, which was the first property to go under contract when the Business Park was constructed about seven years ago. Lot 1 is occupied by Harry Johnson Plumbing and Excavation Inc.

Owners of that business, Mark and Carol Johnson, now want to purchase the neighboring second lot for Valley Septic, which has operated at Lot 1.

The purchase cost of $1.25 per square foot would put the overall cost at $88,699.

For Lot 6, that same rate would bring the purchase price too $78,516.

Himark Custom Fab, owned by Tyson Stowers, is a custom fabricator of bumpers, sled decks, sled beds and builds and also performs agricultural equipment repairs. Stowers has additionally requested first right of refusal for Lot 5 in the park.

The purchase of the properties would take place over time as monthly lease payments are applied toward the acquisitions. This is how the agreement for the first lot sale was also arranged, Port Executive Director Patrick Reay said.

The proposal includes 5% down with the remaining cost amortized over 10 years with interest. It’s not an ideal transaction, Port commissioners acknowledged, but finding buyers for the property in Waitsburg has proven challenging.

“Anyway, I want to see the businesses growing there, and it’s a step in the right direction,” Commissioner Ron Dunning said.

Staff will draw up the contracts and bring them back to commissioners for final approval.

The concept was lauded by Waitsburg Commercial Club President Joy Smith, who attended last Thursday’s Port meeting. She said spurring economic development in Waitsburg sometimes means working with projects on a cash-flow basis rather than financing.

“It’s the best chance we have to get someone there,” Smith told commissioners.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 509-526-8321.

Vicki covers business and economic development, including tourism, the Port of Walla Walla and the Strictly Business column, as well as features. She has been reporting for the Union-Bulletin since late 2001.