Economic Development

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Wenatchee, a great place to do business!

Economic Development

Wenatchee Snow Mtns


 Wenatchee is the urban center of 70,000 people in a region that has traditionally been dependent on agriculture and government sectors as the mainstay of the economy. This combination has provided Wenatchee with a stable economic environment over the years. Over the last decade the economy has diversified significantly including the latest addition of the Diamond Foundry. Today, the area’s largest employers reflect the region’s agricultural heritage, but also other strengths including hydroelectric power, health care, technology and tourism industries.

North Central Washington has also been discovered for its clean renewable hydropower energy. Data farms in the Columbia Basin provide significant economic value by tapping into our strengths of electrical and HVAC businesses that support our fresh fruit industry. Wenatchee is experiencing a high appreciation economic environment based on influences from the Seattle Metro economy and its desirable livability amenities centered around outdoor recreation. The “We are Wenatchee” video provides a great representation of our valley.

Wenatchee’s livability as an urban hub for all of North Central Washington is boosted by the numerous features that attract tourists and treat locals on a year-around basis from the newly improved Mission Ridge ski area, the Pybus Public Market, the Town Toyota Center, the Foothills Trails System and the growing Apple Capital Recreational Loop Trail along the Columbia River in Wenatchee. Wenatchee is a state of dynamic change and the Our Valley Our Future is a grass roots initiative to shape our community with economic development opportunities to better the lives of our citizens of today and tomorrow.

Economic Development Map

Market

In understanding Wenatchee’s market and assets for the purposes of locating or expanding a business, there are several important factors to consider:

Wenatchee is the urban center for North Central Washington and the major urban attraction to this section of the Highway 97 Corridor. Based on the economic assessment done for the Wenatchee Waterfront Sub-Area Plan in 2003, it is notable that the urban area draws 36% of our four counties’ (Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Kittitas) retail sales – a population trade area of 211,900 which is expected to grow to 268,275 by 2025.

Wenatchee’s business and community assets serve the region, and they are representative of the area’s industry clusters:

  1. Health Care: Central Washington Hospital, Wenatchee Valley Medical CenterColumbia Valley Community Health
  2. Education: Wenatchee Valley College, Central Washington University (on WVC Campus), Confluence Technology Center, North Central Technical Skills Center
  3. Agriculture: Wenatchee’s history as the Apple Capital of the World has defined the region’s agricultural infrastructure – which is state-of-the-art for fruit production, storage and packing, fruit shippers and marketers, and value-added processes.  The newly flourishing wine industry is represented by Wenatchee Wine Country.  Wenatchee is quickly becoming a food/wine destination. 
  4. Arts: The Stanley Civic Center, which includes the Performing Arts Center of Wenatchee and the Wenatchee Convention Center, The Greater Wenatchee Regional Events Center/Town Toyota Center, Riverside Playhouse, Sun Basin Theaters, Art on the Avenues, and Wenatchee Symphony
  5. Technology: Confluence Technology Center is home to a Yahoo! data center as well as numerous small-to-medium technology firms that flourish in our area where our fiber infrastructure is renowned.
  6. Recreation: From the Apple Capital Recreational Loop Trail to the Wenatchee Foothills Trails, and Mission Ridge – one can understand why Wenatchee was rated as one of National Geographic magazine’s Top 50 Adventure Towns

For more information about the City of Wenatchee click here or follow these links to the Port of Chelan County and the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce. In addition, we invite you to visit www.choosewashington.com. This site is supported by the State of Washington and can provide valuable information on consumer buying habits, and effective buying income within very small radius of available real estate listings in the area.

In addition, a wealth of information data about the community exists on the Chelan-Douglas Trends Network website which you can find by clicking here

The Pybus Public Market is the new prize of the community providing an amazing gathering place for locals and visitors to enjoy the fruits of our region. Located on the Apple Capital Loop Trail and beautiful riverfront park in downtown, this venue is an anchor to growth in the city. 

Pybus Market

 

Opportunity Zones 

The City of Wenatchee in partnership with the Port of Chelan County and Chelan County secured three census tracks as designated Opportunity Zones. This designation is a crucial step to facilitate Opportunity Fund investment in the region. Douglas County also as a census track in the Wenatchee Valley designated as an Opportunity Zone such that almost the entire Wenatchee Valley is set up for opportunity investments.

The Opportunity Zone designation application to the State Department of Commerce can be downloaded here (pdf).

A presentation to our community was provided on September 28, 2018. This presentation can be downloaded here (pdf).

Please feel free to contact Steve King, Economic Development Director, for nay questions or interest in our Opportunity Zones. Email: sking@wenatcheewa.gov; Phone: (509) 888-3203.

See our region's flyer here (PDF).

Planning

Wenatchee has been the recognized leader in focused planning, and these efforts have resulted in significant new development in the community. The city has been a key member of a highly successful grass roots regional planning effort titled Our Valley Our Future. Seven game changer projects have been identified by the community. These projects are well underway providing strategic and intentional focus to shaping our future. This work is a continuation of the Center for the New West study which set the stage for our future years ago.

The Center for the New West study advised that Wenatchee’s economic strength would come from building on existing assets, including the regional draw and quality-of-life features, while supporting the growth of smaller enterprises, such as Wenatchee’s burgeoning creative class, by strengthening local infrastructure. Wenatchee’s economic development goals include the following:

  • REGIONAL CENTER - Promote the continued development of Wenatchee as the regional center of North Central Washington
  • DOWNTOWN - Protect and strengthen the vitality of Downtown
  • ENTREPRENEURIAL SUPPORT - Foster the development of an environment that supports small business and the creative class
  • QUALITY OF LIFE - Support the enhancement of Wenatchee’s built and natural environment as an attraction for community and business growth
  • FACILITIES AND INFRASTRUCTURE - Work with regional partners to ensure that regional infrastructure needs are addressed 

During Wenatchee’s Comprehensive Plan update the City conducted an in-depth analysis of the current economy, land uses, housing, business and population needs for the future. This analysis helped shape the City’s economic development goals and set the stage for a productive future. Please see the Economic Development Chapter of the Comprehensive Plan for more detail.

CURRENT PROJECTS

North Wenatchee Avenue Redevelopment

North Wenatchee Avenue Master Plan: The purpose of the project is to create a redevelopment strategy for the vacant and damaged parcels impacted by the Sleepy Hollow Fire of 2015 and a development framework for returning the vacant properties to productive use supported by market demand and highest and best use of the area. Download the plan here.

For more information on the City of Wenatchee’s economic development efforts, please contact:

Steve King
Economic Development Director
sking@wenatcheewa.gov
(509) 888-3203

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