• PUD rebates helped pay for energy upgrades

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    It cost more than expected and took longer to build, but my oh my, what a welcome upgrade to Wenatchee’s downtown.
    Investors Jeff and Heather Ostenson and Rick and Cory Wray have reshaped a sprawling, outdated retail building at 14 N. Wenatchee Ave. into an inviting blend of open workspaces, private office suites, conference rooms and a comfy-couch lounge. Reclaimed lumber and local fir trims out doors and walls. Easy-on-the-eyes LEDs supplement the natural light that filters through the solid-glass storefront.

    Chelan PUD rebates helped pay for the energy-saving lighting, lighting controls, windows and web-enabled thermostats.

    The owners are the first downtown renovators to take advantage of multiple rebates, said Scott Stanford, commercial energy adviser for the PUD. Chelan PUD will pay up to 75% of an efficiency project’s cost, based on projected energy savings.
    The Mercantile, named after the building’s first retail occupant in 1905, channels the creativity, vision and ethos of its owners: Jeff, owner of award-winning filmmaker North 40 Productions; Heather, a civil engineer; Rick, currently helping build Wenatchee’s first charter school; and Cory, who works in real estate development.
     

    They focused on hiring local contractors and finding local materials. Vaagen Bros. of Colville donated dimensional lumber in a swap for marketing at the Mercantile.

    “We’re really happy with how it all turned out,” Jeff said.

    Nearly all of the 16 offices are rented. About a quarter of the fixed desks are spoken for. These are guaranteed, leased spaces that include lockable cabinets, Wi-Fi, printing services, the reception/lounge and, of course, coffee.

    A flex-desk option eventually will be available where people can work from large open tables or the lounge. The flex desk/reception/lounge area is available for community events in the evenings and on weekends.

    Linda Haglund, executive director of the Wenatchee Downtown Association, said the Mercantile is the third coworking space to spring up in Wenatchee but the first downtown.  It’s one of 11 renovation projects now under way, with four more in the works.

    PUD rebates are part of a package of incentives the downtown association can help eligible developers access.

    She commended the Mercantile’s owners for sharing lessons learned in construction with other renovators, and for caring about the building’s history. “They have that spirit of community, of reviving our community, of making this downtown a great place.”

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