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New life being breathed into old K-Mart building

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Creighton Hermes of A-Core Concrete Cutting and Drilling works on prepping the front wall of the old K-Mart building at 2600 Yakima Valley Hwy. so new storefronts can be cut out of the existing facade. Work is being done to get the more than 90,000 square foot building ready to house seven different business spaces.

From the outside it may look like things have been at a standstill at the old K-Mart building at 2600 Yakima Valley Hwy. in Sunnyside. But things are about to change. Walls are coming down and going up at the same time, as the building is being prepared for one of its first tenants.

Ron Valdez of Western Warehousing LLC said his team has been working since the middle of March to get ready for the opening of the new China Buffet. Walking through the building you can watch as the 6,000 square-foot space for the new restaurant is partitioned off from the rest of the cavernous space. New walls with steel beams run from floor to ceiling and sheet rock is already going up. Looking around the space it is easy to imagine where the buffet line will be, as well as the kitchen and restroom spaces.

During March, the Sunnyside Building Division issued five permits for the work going on in the building. The largest building permit brought with it a fee of $4,419. The permits were just five of 98 issued by the city last month.

Despite having started work on the restaurant space last month, Valdez said it was February that he and his crew started running utilities throughout the large building. He noted that water and sewer lines have been run from one corner of the building throughout the rest of the space, preparing for new restrooms and other spaces.

The China Buffet is just one space that is being prepared at the site of the old K-Mart. Valdez said when his crew is finished there will be seven spaces in the existing building, each with a separate entrance off the front of the building. A crew is currently at work cutting holes for new storefronts and windows into the front of the old K-Mart building.

Valdez said he hopes to have the building divided up into separate spaces by June.

However, work inside the building isn't the only thing that is planned for the site. Valdez said in the next month or so his crew will begin work on three new buildings to be placed in the large parking lot in front of the old K-Mart building. Two of the buildings will be large enough for retail spaces, while the third will be the size of an espresso stand. Valdez said he hopes to have those three buildings up by August.

The development of the old K-Mart building is just a sample of the construction that Sunnyside saw last month.

In March, the Sunnyside Building Division issued 98 permits, including 50 building permits, 17 mechanical permits, 16 plumbing permits and one deposit street cut permit. Three permits were issued to the public works department during the month, one for a street excavation and two for curb, gutter and sidewalk work. An additional 10 permits were issued for the installation of water meters and one permit was issued for a water connection. Local building inspectors were kept busy last month, performing 472 inspections on projects with a valuation of more than $1.3 million.

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