Vista Field valued at $5.33 million with conditions

Vista Field, particularly the 70 acres used for the airport operations, is worth about $5.33 million, the Port of Kennewick Commission was told Tuesday.

Gary Chamberlain of Chamberlain and Associates, which did an appraisal of the port-owned property, said that was the estimated value as of April 1.

Having that information may play a role in the commission’s decision about the future of Vista Field, said Tim Arntzen, the port’s executive director. The appraisal will be a useful tool for port officials, he said.

“We can’t set a budget unless we know what this creature called Vista Field is going to throw at us,” Arntzen said.

Chamberlain said the audit indicates the property after development and improvements would fetch about $9.65 million at today;s prices. But it would take about nine years to sell all the parcels, thereby reducing the real gains, he said. The discounted value, calculated assessing risks, would come to about $5.66 million, he said.

The report comes with a caveat, Chamberlain told the commissioners.

It’s based on an assumption that the land is vacant — and suitable for commercial and industrial development — with access to roads and offsite utilities, and is shovel ready. It also doesn’t include the costs of potential environmental mitigation and asphalt removal if the airport were to be closed.

The report also assumed that a single developer would purchase the entire parcel and be responsible for the master plan, and that there’s no major change in the economic health of the community. From 1998 through 20008, the Tri-Cities had healthy growth, but there’s no way to predict future trends, Chamberlain said. “In reality, the absorption could be 15 years.”

In a separate development, a Benton County pilot who supports keeping the airport open raised the issue of potential conflict concerning Port Commissioner Calvin Dudney, who was elected last year to fill out former Commissioner Linda Boomer’s term through November.

Dudney serves of the board of the Kennewick Public Facilities District, Chep Gaunett told the commission, adding that’s an appointment made by the city of Kennewick, which also is responsible for a budget shortfall of the district.

“I’m not accusing him of anything,” Gaunett said. But there could be a possible conflict on any vote on matters related to Vista Field, Gaunett said. He requested that port commissioners get a legal opinion on the matter.

Dudney said he volunteers with several Tri-City organizations, including the Tri-City Water Follies Association, Tapteal Foundation and Leadership Tri-Cities. It’s his way of serving the community, said Dudney, a Fluor community program manager who estimates he spends over seven hours a week volunteering.

Source: Tri-City Herald

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