Allpak Container East LLC, a Spokane-based packaging maker thats part of a bigger Seattle-area company, has bought the vacant, former Honeywell Electronic Materials plant in Cheney and the 48 acres of mostly undeveloped land surrounding it, and plans to move there and expand its employment and operations.
Meanwhile, the city of Cheney says its eager to capitalize on the resurrection of that building, which has sat empty since Honeywell closed its operations there about two years ago.
The city hopes to work with Allpak to make infrastructure improvements to some of that land, which is located on the north side of state Route 904 west of Presley Drive, in an effort to attract additional light-industrial employers.
Allpak, which currently is located in East Spokane, expects to complete its move into the 115,000-square-foot building by the end of January, says Wayne Millage, president of Renton-based Allpak Container Inc., the Spokane companys parent.
Millage declines to disclose the dollar value of the property transaction, but describes the building and land acquisition, along with the purchase of equipment that will be installed there, as a multimillion-dollar investment.
Pete Thompson, of Spokane-based Hawkins Edwards Inc., handled the real estate transaction, and Spokane Valley-based F&M Bank is financing it.
Allpak will occupy all of the space in the building, which is nearly triple the size of its current, leased facility at 3038 E. Trent, Millage says. Allpak has operated there since 2004, when it acquired the assets of Lincoln Container & Packaging Inc., he says.
Since that acquisition, the company has added 10 employees, bringing its total number of workers here roughly to 20, and has increased its sales by more than 200 percent, says Terry Piger, general manager of Allpak Container East. Millage declines to disclose the Spokane companys annual revenues, but says that the combined revenues of Allpak Container East, Allpak Container, and a sister company based in Renton called Trojan Litho Inc. should reach more than $80 million this year.
He says Allpak Container East plans to hire 10 additional full-time employees within a year at the new facility, and is looking at hiring 50 to 60 workers on a seasonal basis, depending on customer demand.
Allpak likely would hire students from nearby Eastern Washington University to fill those seasonal positions, he says. The company doesnt have an exact projection for the number of employees it plans to have here in coming years, but plans to grow at a steady pace in the next few years, he says.
The facility is well-suited for our goals of growing the business, and the university is a great source for temporary employees and internship opportunities, Millage says. Eastern Washington is a growing market, and we want to make sure were participating in that market.
Allpak Container East serves customers throughout Eastern Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Utah, Piger says. At its location in East Spokane, the company focused solely on manufacturing corrugated cardboard packing. At its new facility in Cheney, it still will do that, but also plans to manufacture products called tote bins, and to provide package assembly and distribution services, he says.
The company is investing roughly $1 million in new equipment for the plant, and plans to install that equipment next week, he says.
Boucher Construction LLC, of Spokane Valley, currently is remodeling the building in Cheney, Piger says. That project includes removing some of the dividing walls inside the structure and creating new loading docks.
The building will provide warehouse and distribution space needed so Allpak Container East can store and distribute packaging products manufactured by Allpak Container Inc. and Trojan Litho, Piger says. Among the services the two Seattle-area companies provide are in-house design and manufacturing capabilities and full-service commercial printing, he says.
Piger says demand for graphic-related services has been increasing among Allpak Container Easts customers as well, particularly businesses in the agriculture, food processing, and electronics industries.
Expanding our capabilities allows us to serve our customer base, since there is increasing pressure to add graphics as part of their marketing plans, Piger says. We want to be able to support our customers growth.
Eventually, the company might expand on the 10 acres immediately surrounding the Cheney building, Millage says.
We have extra land for future growth and development, he says. The city of Cheney is interested in seeing growth in that area, and were certainly willing to work with them.
The city wants to buy 38 acres of land there from Allpak and perform infrastructure improvements to the property, in a project that would cost about $1.4 million, says Cheney Mayor Allan Gainer. The city is working with the Spokane Area Economic Development Council to secure state and federal funding for the project, Gainer says. If the city isnt able to buy the property, it still would be interested in helping Allpak develop the land, since its primary objective is to make the site attractive to potential light-industrial users, he says.
Were very fortunate to have Allpak coming to town in terms of new jobs, current employees moving here, and creating revenue for the city, Gainer says. Were hoping to springboard off of that and create more jobs for Cheney.
Gainer says a timetable hasnt been set for the infrastructure work, but he hopes the project will start this spring.
Allpak Container has 115 full-time employees and serves clients from Alaska to Mexico, Millage says.
Trojan Litho has 175 full-time employees and serves customers in the western U.S. and Canada. The two companies, as well as Allpak Container East, are owned by Seattle-area businessman Hans G. Koch.
Contact Emily Brandler at (509) 344-1265 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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