The land around the Interstate 90-Medical Lake interchange on the West Plains once again is attracting a flurry of trucking-related development activity.
A Salina, Kansas-based truck-wash chain, a Boise-based truck trailer company, and a Cayuga, Ind.-based truck quick-lube chain all have bought land there over the last two months for planned facilities.
Separately, the owner of Freedom Truck Centers Inc., a Spokane-based truck dealership that already has a sales and service facility near that interchange, says he plans to develop a 40,000-square-foot building on part of the land he owns there. He says he probably will consolidate the companys other Spokane-area operations there.
The flurry of activity follows the opening this fall of the big Fairways Travel Plaza at the northeast corner of Aero Road and Westbow Lane, just southeast of the freeway interchange. That complex has a restaurant, other food and retail vendors, 10 fueling lanes, and 200 parking spaces for big trucks, and offers other-truck related services.
The Petro project is one of several in that area south of the interchange, with a combined value of more than $22 million, for which plans were disclosed about a year and a half ago. Other projects planned there include a $12 million retail center thats to be developed just across Aero from the truck stop, and a hotel thats to be built at the southwest corner of Aero and Westbow.
In the most recent transaction, which closed last week, Blue Beacon Truck Washes, the Kansas company, bought a roughly 2-acre parcel just east of the truck stop, across Westbow, for a staffed truck and recreational-vehicle wash facility. That facility probably will have one wash bay and about 5,400 square feet of floor space and likely will employ about 25 people, says Dana Morse, the companys real estate and development director.
He estimates the truck wash probably will cost about $1.5 million to develop and says it probably wont open until 2008.
Blue Beacon Truck Washes opened its 100th and 101st truck washes last week, and has outlets both in the U.S. and Canada, but the one here will be its first in Washington, Morse says. Its next-closest locations are in Portland, Ore., and Twin Falls, Idaho. The companys truck washes are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Pete Thompson and Dick Edwards, both of Hawkins Edwards Inc., of Spokane, handled the companys purchase of its West Plains parcel.
Utility Trailer Sales
In a transaction completed about a month ago, Utility Trailer Sales of Idaho Inc., of Boise, bought about 10 acres of land, also east of the truck stop across Westbow and just north of the Blue Beacon parcel, says Sean Kilkenny, the companys CEO.
It plans to develop a semitrailer parts and service facility there that will operate under the name Utility Trailer Sales of Spokane, he says.
Were probably looking at a 15,000- to 20,000-square-foot facility that will cost about $3 million to develop, counting the land cost, and that will employ about 15 people to start, Kilkenny says.
Id like to have it open within the next year or two, he says.
Utility Trailer Sales of Idaho sells 53-foot, over-the-road semitrailersmostly refrigerated van bodies is our nicheand 48-foot flatbed trailers, Kilkenny says. It also has a truck-equipment division through which it sells snow plows, dump bodies, and service bodies, he says.
Kilkenny says the company will look at selling truck equipment at its Spokane facility, which might require a larger work force here. Utility Trailer Sales of Idaho currently has one other satellite facility, in Idaho Falls.
The company decided to open a facility near Spokane partly because it already has a sizable number of customers here.
Weve been selling trailers in that area since about 1983, and our customers are the ones that really need our support up there, and it is right on I-90, he says, adding, A lot of the transient traffic is what well be looking to service as well.
Jim Watson, of Kiemle & Hagood Co., of Spokane, handled that transaction. He says Kiemle & Hagood has sold 105 acres of commercial and industrial land on the West Plains this year, most of it to investors rather than developers.
We had three sales that I had listed for 20 years. Were seeing a lot of interest, Watson says.
About two months ago, Speedco Inc., which owns a chain of service centers specializing in quick lube and tire service for heavy-duty trucks, bought 3.6 acres of land in that area south of the interchange for a future service center. The Indiana companys parcel is located along I-90 just northeast of a Super 8 Motel. It paid about $555,000 for the land.
We would like to be there, says Speedco spokeswoman Katie Schult. She adds, though, that the company probably wont develop the service center there until 2008 because its busy for now opening outlets elsewhere.
Were growing rapidly, and we have a list of potential sites for more service centers, she says.
Speedco currently has 47 service centers in 26 states and plans to open six more next year, though the one here would be its first in Washington. Its only facility in the Northwest currently is at Aurora, Ore., south of Portland, along Interstate 5.
Its service centers typically have three lube lanes and two tire bays, and employ 20 to 30 people, Schult says.
Lance von Marbod, of Spokanes Cornerstone Property Advisors LLC, was the listing agent for the West Plains parcel, and a Texas-based commercial real-estate agent represented Speedco.
Freedom Truck Centers
Ken Cook, owner of Freedom Truck Centers, says he plans to develop a 40,000-square-foot building on part of roughly 25 acres he owns along the south side of I-90, a short distance northeast of the Medical Lake interchange.
He says, though, that he wont decide on a timetable for the project until Freightliner LLC, the big Portland-based truck manufacturer, divulges more information regarding its planned launch of a new product that will affect the dealership here.
Im not going to do anything until they give me a firm direction, he says. He also declines to estimate the cost of the project.
Freedom Truck Centers sells Freightliner, Western Star, and Unimog new and used trucks, and serves customers throughout the Inland Northwest. Along with the West Plains location at 10310 W. Westbow, which the company opened in 2000, it operates facilities at 5615 E. Third and 7626 W. Geiger Blvd., and a store in Yakima.
Cook says he probably will move the companys two other operations here to the West Plains site when the new building there is completed.
The dealership was started in 1961 as Spokane Freightliner Inc. Cook bought it in 1994 and changed its name to Freedom Truck Centers in 1999. He originally owned about 40 acres of land near the Medical Lake interchange, but recently sold part of it to Inland Power & Light Co., the Spokane-based electric cooperative, which plans to expand its main warehouse and maintenance facility located nearby at 10110 W. Hallett Road.
The recent spate of trucking-related real-estate transactions near the Medical Lake interchange is the second or third wave of such activity there. An earlier wave that began about 10 years ago included Cummins Northwest Inc. and Freedom Truck Centers establishing operations there and local Caterpillar dealer Western States Equipment Co. buying land there.
That activity was spurred in part by earlier announced plans for a large truck stop there that never was developed. A couple of other large trucking- and distribution-related concernsSystem Transport Inc., Jensen Distribution Services, and Aslin-Finch Feed Co.also have operations nearby on that side of the interchange.
Contact Kim Crompton at (509) 344-1263 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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