About the Uptown
The Uptown Shopping Center was created, at least in plan, by the Atomic Energy Commission of the United States and the Richland Community Council (precursor to the City of Richland) as a Master Planned development in 1948. The plan called for the creation of a second commercial facility area, one-mile north of the original downtown (present day Parkway Shopping Center) to provide additional amenities for residents ahead of formal incorporation of the City. The Uptown officially started on May 10th, 1949 with the opening of Dawson-Richards Men and Boys Store, soon followed by Frank Berry’s Sporting Goods and the National Bank of Commerce.
Many more retail and household goods stores opened in the succeeding months, and in 1950 construction began on the Uptown Theatre as a nucleus of entertainment for Hanford workers and City residents. The Atomic Energy Commission continued to build new buildings for retail stores and restaurants, and issue contracts for individuals to operate those entities. As incorporation of Richland neared a final vote and congressional authority, the Atomic Energy Commission began to transition the Uptown to individual and collective ownership. Each property owner was granted deed to their own property and an undivided interest in the deed to the surrounding parking lot and alleyways.
The undivided interest in the private ownership of common areas led to an impasse in maintenance and resurfacing, resulting in pot holes, cracks, and general deterioration. In the early 1990’s Richland’s Redevelopment Planning Division began the process to acquire ownership interest of the sidewalks, parking lots, and alleys in the Uptown Shopping Center with an eye towards improvement. This process required the City to acquire 100% of the deeds to the undivided interest in the Uptown common areas through voluntary disposition of the property owners. The City acquired the remaining interest by agreeing to the stipulation that no permanent structure would be erected upon the parking lot, and if it did the property ownership would revert to the previous owners.
From 1993-1995, the City replaced the parking lot, alley, and sidewalk; they installed parking area street lamps, sidewalk street lamps, bicycle racks, and other appurtenances. In order to progress the common interest in the maintenance and improvement of the area, the City worked with the business owners to initiate a Business Improvement Area. Under this process the City would continue to maintain the public common areas, and the district would market and promote the Uptown’s collective interest in future projects and planning.
The Uptown Business Improvement District was initiated by petition of the business ownership within the Uptown Shopping Center, utilizing a legislative option of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). The petition required businesses responsible for 60% of the proposed assessment role to sign in agreement, and if successful would prompt the City to pass a resolution to create the district. The final petition included more than 80% of the proposed due paying businesses, and was successfully passed by the City Council in 2003.
Since the districts incorporation, it has been responsible for several promotional projects designed to beautify and attract visitors to Uptown businesses. The first notable project was the construction of two googie-inspired Uptown Shopping Center entrance signs, with 1940s-1950s themed neon lighting. The signs are capable of displaying messages for area businesses and the district’s events, promotions, and announcements. The district is also responsible for the Uptown Mural Program, which was initiated in tandem with funding from the City of Richland to beautify the exterior of Uptown buildings in googie-themed murals representative of the Uptown’s history.
In the past few years the Board has organized or collaborated with other agencies in the region to hold events such as the Uptown Chalk Art Festival, Cool Desert Nights, Winter Wonderland, and many smaller collective events. Going into 2018, the Board worked with the City of Richland Business and Economic Development Office to create this five-year strategy, laying the ground work for an action plan that could be referred to and updated as projects are initiated or completed. A primary consideration in drafting this strategy was to ensure that the district had a usable action plan, which would provide clarity and organization to their overall responsibility to their business membership.
Uptown Board Officers
The Uptown Board Officers are elected from within the Board of Directors by its members. Board officers represent the legal entity of the board and have responsibility for it's upkeep.
Octopus Garden & Luna Fish
Alpha Computer Center
The Emerald of Siam
Uptown Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is made up of business owners elected from the business membership of the Uptown Business Improvement District. The Board is elected to two year terms on a rolling basis.
Kagen Coffee & Crepes
Eastlake Community Church
Steadfast Barber Shop
Markee's Cycling Center
Hunt & Gather Vintage
Finatics Tropical Fish
Hunt & Gather Vintage