Prium Companies LLC, the Tacoma-based developer that announced plans last year to build a condominium tower in downtown Spokane, says it has dropped those plans for now, due to higher-than-expected construction costs.
Last summer, Prium said it planned to build a roughly $30 million tower on the site of a parking lot, at 153 S. Wall, that it had bought from Spokane developers Walt and Karen Worthy. The proposed 15-story, 345,000-square-foot tower was expected to include ground-floor retail space, a 462-space parking garage on the next seven floors, and 126 roughly 1,300-square-foot condo units on the upper seven floors.
OMS Inc., of Spokane, designed the project, and Prium had selected Spokane-based T.W. Clark Construction LLC to be the contractor.
Last month, however, Prium said it was unsure whether it would go forward with the tower. The company planned to decide after it received a final cost estimate and a condo market evaluation.
Robert Marmaduke, an engineer at Prium, says that cost estimate came in at between $35 million and $40 million. In addition, the condo market evaluation concluded that the Spokane-area market wasnt willing to pay the prices Prium would have to charge to make the project pencil out, Marmaduke says.
It was a great project; we just couldnt make it pay in the current market, he says.
The sites small size was driving up the cost of the tower, because it raised the height that the building needed to be to accommodate the number of condos Prium wanted to build, he says. Meanwhile, construction material costs continue to climb.
Readers shouldnt suspect that no condo projects are viable in Spokane; its just that the prices for condos didnt compare with our construction costs, and the project itself had some unique problems, Marmaduke says. That could change as contractor prices fall or as condo prices go up, if they do go up.
Prium hasnt canceled the project entirely. Its continually weighing its options and talking to real estate executives and developers here who are familiar with the condo market, he says. The company plans to revisit its plans for the site more seriously once it sells the condos at some of the various projects its developing in Tacoma, which likely would be after the beginning of next year. For now, though, it will continue to lease the Spokane site to Diamond Parking, he says.
Over the past few years, Prium separately has bought the Wells Fargo Center downtown; the Rock Pointe Corporate Center north of downtown, which it now plans to expand, (See story, page A1.); and Trent Plaza in Spokane Valley, from the Worthys. It also plans to develop a 54-acre industrial park near Spokane International Airport.
Contact Emily Brandler at (509) 344-1265 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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