The ink was barely dry on a $39 million road improvement plan for Pasco’s Broadmoor area when Big Sky Developers dispatched excavators.
Big Sky’s heavy equipment as much as anything signifies development is coming to Broadmoor, the 1,200-plus acre collection of sand dunes that has long been the spot where Pasco envisions homes, stores, offices and recreation amenities to serve its growing population.
The city extended sewer lines to the area in 2019. And on Halloween, the city council signed off on a bond package that will upgrade area roads, including the Broadmoor-Interstate 182 interchange, to keep up with traffic levels.
Rumors about development have swirled since land first went up for sale in 2018. Now, they’re giving way to actual projects.
Big Sky, owned by David Greeney and Brad Seabaugh, is among the first to move dirt at the site of The Dunes, a 222-lot subdivision.
The duo are well known in west Pasco, where they developed 350 to 400 half-acre and acre-sized lots north of Burns Road. The road runs between the residential neighborhoods with oversized lots to the north and city-scale development envisioned at Broadmoor on the south.
Big Sky has a project with one-acre lots to the north. The Dunes is directly across Burns and will offer smaller lots for homes hooked up to city water and sewer service. It paid $5.4 million for the site in April and began preparing to break ground when the infrastructure package passed.
The Dunes is a significant shift for Greeney and Seabaugh, who built their business creating lots for county-style living, usually served by septic systems rather than sewers. The future is density, Greeney said.
“The city is trending, at least in Pasco, to have smaller lots and more density. It’s what came up and what’s available,” Greeney explained.
Big Sky Developers turns bare land into buildable lots, which it sells to homebuilders. Its customers include Landmark Homes, New Tradition Homes, Hammerstrom Construction Inc., Alderbrook Homes and Pahlish Homes.
“We strictly buy the dirt, do the entitlements, get it contracted out and sell to (home) builders,” Greeney said.
Rising mortgage interest rates have not weakened demand for buildable home sites.
The Dunes’ 222 home sites are under contract to an unnamed-for-now home builder, he said. A 600-lot subdivision at Road 68 called Glacier Park isn’t within Broadmoor. All are under contract, he said.
“The builders are wanting to get their hands on the lots,” he said.
He credits the project engineer, Caleb Stromstad of Aqtera Engineering in Pasco, for ushering The Dunes through the process.
Big Sky is among the first of many developers eager to begin work at Broadmoor now that infrastructure financing is in place, said Tim Ufkes, senior vice presidents for investments for Marcus & Millichap.
Ufkes is the marketing agent for Broadmoor Properties, which owns a substantial portion of the area, including the American Rock quarry that will become a small, recreational lake as the area develops.
“It starts now,” he said.
Several sites are sold and he reports a letter of intent from the city for the future site of the voter-approved aquatics center for land near Interstate 182.
Officially, the city will issue about
$39 million in bonds to overhaul roads in the area for the thousands of new homes, businesses and other amenities. The debt will be repaid with property taxes generated by rising property values through Tax Increment Financing, or TIF.
TIF lets development pay for itself. Pasco is the first city in the state to use it. The Port of Pasco previously used it for its Reimann Industrial Park, home to the future Darigold Inc. plant, which broke ground in early September.
The road package includes upgrades to the freeway interchange, widening Broadmoor Boulevard, Burns Road and creating new roads within the property.
Roads and utilities are the key to selling the Broadmoor vision of a walkable neighborhood to developers and retailers, Ufkes said. And after years of painting a picture of what the desert could become, he’s eager to see heavy equipment pull in.
“I’ve been selling sagebrush and sand over there for four years,” he joked.
Costco is noticeably missing from the Broadmoor lineup despite earlier confirmation the Issaquah-based retail giant would open its second Tri-Cities location on one of two sites within Broadmoor.
Ufkes wasn’t at liberty to discuss Costco, but he confirmed there is no contract.
He is optimistic that the 200 acres dedicated to commercial development will attract newcomers. “Whether it is a Trader Joe’s or Cabela’s or Ikea, our job is to bring the best companies,” he said.
One of those is Visconsi Companies LTD of Cleveland, Ohio.
It plans to construct a grocery-anchored strip mall on Lot 10, a 33-acre site at Broadmoor and Sandifur. It is the first site visitors see on exiting the freeway. Brad Goldberg, vice president for development, said Visconsi wasn’t prepared to share information, but hoped to elaborate in a few months.
But it posted a site plan and marketing materials for a shopping center it calls River Bend Marketplace at Broadmoor on its website.
The plan shows a 68,000-square-foot grocery, a child care center and several smaller retail stores. Freestanding stores line the perimeter.
River Bend will face a north-south road that does not exist yet to the west and Broadmoor to the east. Sandifur Parkway will flank its property on the north when it is built.
The aquatic center property is to the west.
On Burns Road, Inland Construction of Spokane is preparing to build a 414-unit multifamily project comparable to its Affinity complex in Kennewick. There will be 70-80 units for those 55 and older and the balance will be traditional apartments.
Officials could not be reached to comment on Inland’s interest in Broadmoor.
If was no accident that Pasco approved the TIF package at the end of October. That’s was the last day for Dave Zabell, who retired after eight years as Pasco’s city and champion of Broadmoor development.
Ufkes, of Marcus & Millichap, said Zabell’s stewardship was critical to developing Broadmoor and suggested the now-former city manager might be memorialized when a north-south road is carved across the dunes.
“Maybe call it Zabell Parkway,” he said.
Pasco, with a population of 80,180 people in April, added 20,000 residents between 2010-22.