Construction projects for two trucking-related companies are getting under way near the Interstate 90-Medical Lake interchange on the West Plains.
Located a short distance apart along Westbow Lane, the separate projects for Kent, Wash.-based Thermo King Northwest Inc. and Boise-based Utility Trailer Sales of Idaho Inc. have a combined value of more than $4.6 million.
Divcon Inc., of Spokane Valley, started construction last week on a 23,000-square-foot repair and service facility for Thermo King Northwest, at 10211 W. Westbow.
Thermo King Northwest, which mainly repairs Thermo King refrigeration units for trucks and semitrailers, currently operates here in a smaller leased facility at 910 N. Thierman, in Spokane Valley. It will move to the new structure once it's completed, which is expected to be by early next year.
Meanwhile, Spokane-based Baker Construction & Development Inc. is scheduled to break ground next week on a 26,000-square-foot facility, located at 10401 W. Westbow, for Utility Trailer Sales of Idaho, which will operate here as Utility Trailer Sales of Spokane Co.
Utility Trailer Sales, which services and repairs semitrailers as well as selling parts, has operated in Boise for about 35 years and in Idaho Falls since 2000, says Dan Young, Boise-based operations manager for the company. The Spokane facility will be the company's first location in Washington state.
Young says Utility Trailer Sales expects to hire about 20 people here by early next year, prior to opening the new facility, which is expected by the end of March. He estimates construction value of the Spokane facility at about $2.6 million.
"We would be hiring semitrailer mechanics, and parts department personnel, and a couple of office clerical jobs," Young says. "I have one (Spokane) employee already hired."
The company purchased the 10-acre site on Westbow Lane, east of the freeway interchange, in 2006. Utility Trailer Sales built a new 66,000-square-foot facility in 2008 for its Boise operations, but erecting the building in Spokane is its first expansion since then, Young says.
"We have been calling on customers in that location for close to 30 years," Young says. "We have wanted to put a location in that territory for about 15 years now. The time is right, and we're following up on a commitment we made to the trucking industry in the Spokane area."
Reed Caudle, Baker Construction's senior vice president, says the Utility Trailer Sales facility here is a design-build project with the contractor working jointly with the owner and J.R. Bonnett Engineering, of Spokane, to design the structure.
Caudle says Baker Construction's work will include building an eight-bay truck repair and service area, office spaces, a parts and service lobby area, and a parts-inventory warehouse. He says Baker and Divcon also are expected to build improvements that will slightly widen Westbow and add sidewalks and curbing.
Thermo King Northwest, meanwhile, has outgrown its Spokane Valley facility and needed to expand, says J.R. Zundel, the dealership's Portland-based executive vice president. Spokane County building permit records list a $2 million project value for Thermo King's new structure here.
The dealership operates outlets in Spokane, Pasco, Seattle, Portland, and Missoula, Mont.
Zundel says an affiliated company, Seattle-based PZP LLC, recently purchased the 7-acre West Plains development site.
"We're in three bays now, and the one we're building will be six bays, so we're doubling the capacity of our service capabilities," Zundel says. "We're pleased to be building and growing in Spokane."
He says the dealership has about 12 employees in Spokane, and he expects that another two or three people will be hired before the new facility opens early next year.
Zundel, who runs the dealership's operations, is a co-owner along with partners Brandon Pugh, Kent-based president who runs sales and marketing, and Dennis Parker, Portland-based vice president and chief financial officer.
"We're the Thermo King dealer for all of Oregon, Washington, and western Montana," he says. "We sell, service, and support all the transportation refrigeration units, and in addition, we work on trailers and trucks as needed."
Divcon President Shane Miller says the Thermo King project will include building office spaces, a showroom, a six-bay shop with a wash bay, and a parts storage warehouse. Architectural Ventures, of Spokane Valley, designed the project.
Young says that while Utility Trailer Sales offers truck refrigeration equipment repair and maintenance services at its Idaho operations, the Spokane facility isn't designed to provide that type of work here.
"In Spokane, we don't have a Washington dealership for refrigeration repair," he says. "In Spokane, we're primarily going to focus on semitrailer repairs and servicing, supplying parts, and doing some truck equipment servicing and repairs," which is mainly for dump-truck beds and major snow removal equipment, he adds.
He says, "We try to also purchase products from Washington and use local suppliers to help our business function. We do that also with our Idaho operations."
He says a majority of Utility Trailer Sales clients are in the general trucking industry, and companies that haul refrigerated products, construction equipment, and dry freight.
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