Thanks to an upswing in single-family and multifamily residential construction, and prominent health care and public projects, the overall construction industry in Kootenai County is maintaining momentum that started last year, sources there say.
In 2012, construction volume in unincorporated Kootenai County and its three largest citiesCoeur d'Alene, Post Falls, and Haydentotaled $211.5 million, an increase of 26 percent compared with the previous year, and the first combined annual gain in value since 2009.
Growth last year in residential construction, including multifamily projects, represented a strong part of those gains in Post Falls, and that residential market is off to a strong start this year, says Shelly Enderud, Post Falls city administrator.
Multimillion-dollar projects proposed or under construction throughout North Idaho's most populated county have a total value exceeding $225 million and range from a luxury high-rise apartment tower to theme park thrill rides.
Work on a project to convert McEuen Field near downtown Coeur d'Alene into a 15-arce multiuse park will begin soon, says Tony Berns, director of the Coeur d'Alene urban renewal agency, Lake City Development Corp.
Contractor bids were to be opened last week on the $18 million main phase of the project.
The project will include demolishing and rebuilding Front Avenue between Second and Sixth streets and putting in a grand plaza and pavilion, as well as a play area with splash pad.
"We're looking to award (a contract) for the majority of work to be done in 2013," Berns says, adding that some portions of the project likely will be completed in the spring of 2014.
Other amenities will include a dog park, trail improvements, and tennis and basketball courts.
The project will retain the Third Street boat ramp, but move boat trailer parking from the west side of McEuen Park to a lot that would be accessed from Seventh Street, south of city hall on the east side of the park. Baseball fields will be removed to make room for the amenities.
Team McEuen, a design team led by Miller Stauffer Architects PA, of Coeur d'Alene, designed the project.
On the west edge of downtown, the proposed $20 million One Lakeside residential high-rise building could reshape the Coeur d'Alene skyline.
One Lakeside LLC, a subsidiary of Aspen, Colo.-based real estate development company Austin Lawrence Partners, is proposing to erect a 173-foot tower on a half-acre parcel of land at the northwest corner of First Street and Lakeside Avenue.
As proposed, the 125,000-square-foot structure would have 14 stories and a basement. It would include 60 luxury apartment units and up to 42,000 square feet of parking. One Lakeside also likely would have ground floor retail and restaurant space. A two-story apartment building, known as the Mudge Building, would be demolished to make room for the project.
Greg Hills, founder of Austin Lawrence, has said the company hopes to begin construction as early as this spring. The project has passed muster with the city's design review committee, although some residents of neighboring high-rise residential buildings who oppose the project are threatening legal action.
Denver-based OZ Architecture is designing the project, and a contractor hasn't been selected for it yet.
In a project aimed at market-rate tenants, the city of Coeur d'Alene has issued building permits for a $7.8 million second phase of construction at the Riverview apartment complex north of Seltice Way, on the west edge of the city. The project site will be accessed via Idewild Loop, which connects to Seltice Way about midway between Huetter and Atlas roads.
The new phase, which is owned by Riverview Ventures II LLC, includes six three-story apartment buildings with a combined total of 88 units, and three duplex structures. An affiliate of the owner, Rudeen Development LLC, of Liberty Lake, is the contractor on the project, and Milbrandt Architects Inc., of Bellevue, designed it.
In the Tullamore neighborhood in northeast Post Falls, Whitewater Creek Inc., of Hayden, is constructing a 51-unit apartment complex to be called Tullamore Commons II. The project, valued at $4.3 million, also will include a single-story health center.
Dirne Clinic, a Coeur d'Alene-based nonprofit, will operate a branch clinic as the main tenant in the health center, which will be located on the west side of state Route 41, just east of the apartment complex.
The project site is on 5 acres of land south of Early Dawn Avenue and north of two other apartment complexes that Whitewater Creek developed in 2009 and 2010.
Whitewater Creek is its own contractor on the current project, and ZBA Architecture PS, of Spokane, designed it.
The apartment complex will consist of four two-story structures with a mix of one- to three-bedroom apartment units and a single-story community building. The project is expected to be completed late this year or early 2014.
In the single-family home sector, Jim Frank, CEO of Liberty Lake-based real estate development company Greenstone Corp., says construction is picking up in Kootenai County.
Greenstone is developing new lots in the Coeur d'Alene Place subdivision, in Coeur d'Alene, and the Montrose subdivision, in Post Falls, where homes to be built will be valued in excess of $13 million.
The Montrose subdivision, which is in northwest Post Falls, generally southwest of the Poleline Avenue and Chase Road intersection, will have 30 new home sites. Coeur d'Alene Place, an expansive multiphase subdivision in northwest Coeur d'Alene, will have 50 new lots.
Homes to be built on the new lots will range in size from 1,300 to 2,500 square feet of living space, and asking prices will range from $160,000 to $350,000, Frank says.
Kootenai Health, the Coeur d'Alene-based hospital district that operates Kootenai Medical Center, is involved in multiple construction projects in Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls.
In Post Falls, Kootenai Health is partnering with Albuquerque, N.M.-based Ernst Health Inc. to construct a 30-bed rehabilitation hospital. The construction cost for the hospital, to be named Rehabilitation Hospital of the Northwest, is estimated at $5.5 million, not including equipment, according to building permit application information.
The Rehabilitation Hospital of the Northwest will be a 33,000-square-foot, freestanding facility adjacent to the North Idaho Advanced Care Hospital, which Ernst Health also operates.
Construction of the facility, at 600 N. Cecil in the medical district northeast of the Post Falls city center, is expected to start this spring and to be completed late this year.
The Rehabilitation Hospital of the Northwest will provide intensive physical rehabilitation services to patients recovering from strokes, head and spinal cord injuries, and other loss of function due to injury or illness.
Birmingham, Ala.-based M.J. Harris Construction Services is the contractor on the project, and Albuquerque-based architectural firm Dekker/Perich/Sabatini designed it.
In Coeur d'Alene, Kootenai Health will be the main tenant in a four-story medical office building to be constructed south of Kootenai Medical Center.
Parkwood Business Properties, of Coeur d'Alene, which is developing and will own the building at 1919 Lincoln Way, declines to disclose the total cost of the project, but construction of the building shell alone, is valued at $4.7 million, according to building permit application information.
The project is expected to be completed next fall, and the building will accommodate Kootenai Health's diabetes, endocrinology, and neurology centers, along with other specialty-care and primary-care offices and support services. Kootenai Health also expects to base a family-medicine residency program there in the summer of 2014.
Williamson-Johnson Co., of Coeur d'Alene, is the contractor on the project, and Eixenberger Architect, also of Coeur d'Alene, designed it.
Kootenai Health also is renovating and expanding its Heart Center electrophysiology lab at the hospital at the northwest corner of Lincoln Way and Ironwood Drive. The cost for construction and new equipment is estimated at $3.4 million.
The project involves renovating and reconfiguring 8,000 square feet of space on the hospital's second floor to accommodate a new cardiac electrophysiology laboratory and patient prep and recovery areas. The work also includes installing new imaging and catheterization equipment.
Polin & Young Construction Inc., of Coeur d'Alene, is the contractor on the project, and Spokane-based NAC|Architecture designed it.
Northwest of downtown Coeur d'Alene, Pain Management of North Idaho LLC, is developing a $1.2 million medical clinic and surgery center. The project site is at 1686 W. Riverstone, in the big Riverstone mixed-use development, west of the Village at Riverstone retail complex.
The single-story 6,700-square-foot facility will include clinic space and an outpatient surgery center with two procedure rooms, recovery rooms, and support space.
Polin & Young Construction is the contractor on the project, and h2a Architects PA, also of Coeur d'Alene, designed it. The project is expected to be completed next month.
Education and transportation
The Coeur d'Alene School District is planning construction projects at several schools to be funded by a $32.7 million bond measure voters approved in August.
Renovations planned for Canfield Middle School, and Borah, Bryan, Sorensen, and Winton elementary schools will include expanding or modernizing the school buildings; removing portable classrooms; updating heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems; and improving parking and traffic flow.
Individual value estimates for the projects range from $3.9 million for the work planned at Sorenson to $8.7 million for the Canfield project.
Architects West is designing projects for Canfield and Sorenson schools, and Longwell Trapp Architects PLLC, of Hayden, is designing projects for Borah, Bryan, and Winton schools.
The 13-year bond measure also will fund HVAC replacement projects at five other schools and technology upgrades throughout the district.
Work on the projects is planned to begin this year and to be completed in three years.
In the largest ongoing transportation project in Kootenai County, the Idaho Transportation Department is widening an 11-mile section of U.S. 95 between Ohio Match Road in north Kootenai County and Granite Hill just across the Kootenai County-Bonner County line.
The project, which is being done in two concurrent phases at a combined cost of $57 million, involves rebuilding U.S. 95 to turn the two-lane portions of the road into a four-lane divided highway. It also includes new interchanges to eliminate at-grade highway crossings at Chilco and Bunco roads and state Route 54 in Athol.
One partially completed project that's creating optimism for commercial growth on the far west side of Post Falls is the $21 million I-90 interchange at Beck Road, Enderud says.
The project, located roughly halfway between the Pleasant View Road and State Line interchanges, is to become the primary freeway access to the 200-acre Pointe at Post Falls commercial development on the west edge of Post Falls. The development currently includes big Cabela's and Walmart outlets.
The project includes a standard diamond interchange with exit ramps on each side of I-90. It will extend Beck Road south to connect with Riverbend Avenue, providing a direct link between the Pointe at Post Falls development and the area north of I-90 and the Riverbend Commerce Park south of the freeway.
The interchange is partially open, and remaining construction is expected to be complete in May.
Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction Co., of Draper, Utah, is the contractor on the project, and the company worked with Chicago-based transportation engineering firm H.W. Lochner Inc. to design it.
Foursquare Properties Inc., the Carlsbad, Calif.-based developer of the Pointe at Post Falls, has said the interchange project is expected to help firm up commitments from retailers, restaurants, office users, and hotels to locate in the development.
Another long-pondered project east of the Post Falls city center might gain some traction this year, says Tom Lien, director of the city's urban renewal agency.
The city of Post Falls recently has renewed an urban renewal district there and is revisiting a decade-old goal to develop an I-90 overpass that would link north and south sections of Greensferry Road, which currently terminate near the freeway.
Post Falls is studying funding options and hopes to begin design work on the project this year.
The initial cost estimate for the project is $17 million, including engineering, design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction.
The $15 million SpringHill Suites hotel project, at 2250 W. Seltice Way in northwest Coeur d'Alene, is expected to be completed in May. The four-story, 118-room hotel, just north Riverstone, is being developed by Spokane Valley-based kVc Development Inc. and Parkwood Business Properties.
Vandervert Construction Inc., of Spokane, is the contractor on the project, and Lindquist Architects PS, of Spokane Valley designed it.
A few blocks northeast of the hotel and on the north side of I-90, Boise-based discount grocery chain WinCo Foods LLC has revived plans to build a Coeur d'Alene store. The store would be located on a nine-acre parcel of land, which WinCo bought in 2009, at the northeast corner of Ramsey Road and Appleway Avenue.
The 71,000-square-foot store would anchor a center that would accommodate smaller retail tenants. WinCo hasn't disclosed a construction cost estimate for the project, but the initial project valuation for a similar WinCo development on Spokane's North Side was $8.2 million.
CTA Architects, of Boise, is designing the project. No contractor has been selected to build it yet.
In the something-completely-different category of projects, Silverwood Theme Park, in north Kootenai County, is erecting two new attractions at a cost of $2.2 million.
One attraction will be a 104-foot-tall thrill ride with a 24-rider capacity. It's designed with an open gondola, which riders strap onto, facing outward. When the ride starts, the gondola will spin up to 13 revolutions a minute on a shaft that will swing back and forth like a pendulum, gaining momentum until it swings over the top, bringing riders all the way around at up to 11.5 revolutions a minute.
The soon-to-be named attraction was made by Italian amusement-ride manufacturer VISA International Srl. It will be erected by an in-house crew with assistance from manufacturer's personnel, says Nancy DiGiammarco, spokeswoman for the theme park.
The second attraction is called the Barnstormer, which will carry up to 20 riders and simulate climbs and dives of open-cockpit biplanes, although it's described as mild enough for all ages.
The Italian-made Barnstormer was purchased used from a theme park in New Jersey. It also will be erected by Silverwood personnel.
Both attractions will be operating when Silverwood opens this spring.
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