After being stymied for several years, work is finally under way on a planned 33-acre business park in Airway Heights that's expected to include a mix of retail and industrial tenants, and the development has secured its first tenant.
West Plains Business Park LLC, owned by real estate developers Sig and Diane Tomczak and their son, Tommy, is developing the business park on property the Tomczaks own on the south side of U.S. 2, east of Russell Street.
Mark Pinch, who owns Pinch Development & Investment LLC, of Spokane, and long has been involved with Spokane commercial real estate company NAI Black, is working with the Tomczaks on the project and purchasing some of the land there.
"It's a big property, and it's going to take a long time to absorb," Pinch says of the anticipated development timetable for the site.
Pinch, though, has secured an AutoZone Inc. car-parts chain outlet as a first tenant for the site, and development company spokesman Tommy Tomczak says he believes development activity will accelerate once a few initial tenants begin operating there.
Pinch says a 7,000-square-foot building to house the AutoZone store will be constructed on a 32,000-square-foot parcel of land at the southeast corner of U.S. 2 and Russell, just across Russell from a Zip's Drive-In, and probably will open in late spring of next year. Pinch says he is purchasing the site where the store will be built.
The 33-acre business park site includes more than 600 feet of frontage along the busy highway, plus substantial frontage along Russell on the west and Garfield Road on the east, he says. Plans call for retail tenants to occupy the northern 800-foot-deep portion of the site nearest to and along the highway, with industrial tenants located farther south.
Potential tenants in the retail area might include a grocery store, a hardware store, and a farm-supply or farm-implement store, Pinch says.
The retail portion is large enough to accommodate two or three larger box stores, plus some smaller stores on pads there, for a total of up to about 160,000 square feet of retail space, he says. The industrial portion includes room for up to six sizable industrial lots, "or as an alternate, an RV park has been drawn up for consideration, anticipating the second casino being developed in Airway Heights," he says.
Northern Quest Resort & Casino, owned by the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, is located in northeast Airway Heights, and the Spokane Tribe of Indians is seeking federal approval to develop a casino and mixed-use commercial complex on the west side of Airway Heights. A vocal opposition group, though, is seeking to block that casino.
Tomczak says his family's envisioned development project along U.S. 2 was stymied for a long time by the presence of a 300-foot-long, state-owned highway drainage swale, and it, he says, "was very unsightly to have this hole in the front of the property."
"We spent a tremendous amount of money" trying to move the project forward before Pinch got involved, but made little headway, he says, adding, "Many times we lost faith" that development of the property would be able to proceed.
Pinch, though, who has been working with the Tomczaks on the project for two years, finally was able to secure the necessary agreements to allow relocation of the drainage swale 900 feet to the south, thereby clearing the way for site work to begin.
"He's done just an outstanding job as far as we're concerned," says Tomczak, whose family has developed a number of business properties in the Spokane area, including the Northpointe Business Park on east Francis Avenue.
Pinch says he was able to work out a land swap with the state, providing it with "a much larger, better-working swale"quite a bit farther away from the highway but linked to it by 900 feet of 24-inch drainage pipewhile making the property more commercially viable.
Infrastructure-related site work that began a couple of weeks ago has included installing the new swale and runoff drain lines, compacting and filling in the old swale to bring it up to ground level, and extending a sewer line 550 feet, he says. Also, he says, a 220-foot-long stretch of Russell from the highway south is being improved, with that work including adding curbs and sidewalks.
Piersol Construction Inc., of Airway Heights, is the contractor for the road and sewer work, and Makwil Construction Co., of Veradale, is the head of construction for the project, Pinch says.
"The property is well positioned for development, with sewer, water, power, and gas down both sides," and also is zoned to accommodate the mix of uses envisioned there, he says.
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