By Opportunity Zone Magazine Staff

Eaty Gourmet LLC already explored developing a dynamic mixed-use project on 52 acres on the Columbia River owned by the Port of Pasco when they learned the property sat in an Opportunity Zone.

Mitch Gilbert, chief visionary officer at Eaty Gourmet, saw a unique opportunity at Osprey Pointe to build a multi-family housing complex, food and wine hall, boutique hotel, marina, water park, a 5,000-person amphitheater. Gilbert also has an agreement with Washington State University Tri-Cities to establish a culinary education center for local businesses and the public.

Gilbert said the creation of an Opportunity Zone at Osprey Pointe put a spotlight on the project that has attracted unprecedented attention from investors.

“The fact is that the Opportunity Zone created an incredible amount of heat,” Gilbert said. “I’m in talks with a couple of opportunity funds that are early adopters. They are incredible stewards of the premise of the Opportunity Zone and I think that’s going to be very important.”

After receiving calls from investors claiming to represent Opportunity Funds for the project’s $52 million first phase, Gilbert said he is deliberate in whose money he takes. He’s looking for institutional investors that have an in-house audit team and an interested in at least making a 10-year-long investment. Some funds have even expressed interest in investing in Osprey Pointe’s future phases.

“Our goal is to be the gold standard on how this should work,” Gilbert said.

Gary Ballew, economic development director for the Port of Pasco, said his agency has the responsibility of being good stewards of the taxpayers' dollars. The port relocated its offices to Osprey Pointe and made other public infrastructure improvements to foster private interest from groups like Eaty Gourmet.

“For Opportunity Zones across the nation, it's going to really assist those places where there has been public effort and some public-private partnership,” Ballew said. “The Opportunity Zone is another level that really helps and I think it will encourage a lot of investment into these areas that haven’t seen a lot.”

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