Work has begun on the upper tier units of the Rhine River townhouses off Front Street in Washington.

Developer Andy Unerstall said concrete footings were poured last week for the first of two residential buildings. The two four-unit townhomes will be accessed from Olive Street.

“We wanted to get started even sooner, but we were waiting on the final engineering plans,” he said. “I hope to have some of the units completed by April 2013.”

Unerstall said four of the eight upper tier units are “spoken for,” but contracts have not yet been signed.

The new units will be larger than the first phase of townhomes already constructed on Front Street. Seven of the eight Front Street townhomes have been sold and the display will now be offered for sale as well.

Unerstall will have a display on the upper tier for prospective buyers to view.

The upper tier townhomes will have three levels — a walk-out basement, main floor and second floor. The main and second floors will all have decks, and all units will have two-car garages at the main level.

These units will range from 2,800 to 3,100 square feet. The Front Street townhomes range from 2,350 to 2,550 square feet.

Utility lines in front of the townhouses were moved underground to provide unhindered views of the Missouri River for tenants in the development.

In addition to the residential units, Unerstall said remodeling and expansion of an existing commercial building at 514 W. Front St. also is continuing.

“We are adding an area for a kitchen and bathrooms,” he said. A new roof, as well as new electrical and a sprinkler system are planned.

Unerstall said he’s still looking for a tenant for this building. He said the building would be suitable for retail, a restaurant or a micro brewery.

The Rhine River development also calls for future construction of a two-story 7,000-square-foot building between the existing commercial building and the townhomes at 515 W. Front St. Unerstall said this commercial building will be available for lease or purchase, and could be utilized for office or retail purposes.

The entire Rhine River development project is projected to cost about $7.8 million.

Under a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreement approved last year, the developer is getting up to $900,000 in TIF funds to help develop the property.