Sizable health and retail construction projects are helping to generate hope among construction insiders that last year's slight bounce in Spokane County construction values is the beginning of an industrywide recovery.
A total of some $385 million in commercial work currently is planned or ongoing.
Prominent Spokane developer and commercial contractor Vandervert Construction Inc., for instance, is projecting revenues of $50 million this year, up from $48 million last year, says Jeff Gallagher, senior project manager for Vandervert.
"It's not bad, but it's nowhere near the heydays of 2005, 2006, and 2007," Gallagher says of how the year is shaping up. "Last year was better than 2010, but we're not seeing a huge increase this year over 2011."
Vandervert Construction's current projects include constructing a new $10.8 million, 171,000-square-foot store at 6606 N. Division for Lowe's Cos., the big North Carolina-based home-improvement retail chain. Lowe's plans to move its North Side store there from smaller quarters a few blocks north. Tulsa, Okla.-based SGA Design Group designed the project, which is scheduled to be completed in October.
To make room for the new store, Lowe's also has obtained demolition permits to raze the former Kmart structure and attached retail bays there totaling 108,000 square feet of floor space, as well as the neighboring 20,400-square-foot former Lyons Avenue Cinemas building at 202 E. Lyons. Rob's Demolition Inc., of Spokane, is the demolition contractor for that part of the project.
Vandervert Construction also has submitted a building permit application to construct a $750,000, 7,800-square-foot, four-tenant retail building at 2915 E. 29th in the Lincoln Heights Shopping Center. Russell C. Page Architects PS designed the project, which will tie in aesthetically to the recently developed Trader Joe's site on the east side of the shopping center. The developer hopes to complete the project this summer.
Vandervert Construction also is the contractor on a $1.5 million project renovating the Holiday Inn Express, at 801 N. Division, north of downtown. The project, which was designed by Steven A. Meek Architects, of Spokane, includes a full exterior facelift for the 119-room, 50,500-square-foot hotel, and a 2,200-square-foot lobby addition that will triple the hotel's seating area for morning food service. Basalt Hospitality LP, a partnership with Spokane hoteliers Kent and Cal Clausen and former NFL quarterback and Spokane native Mark Rypien, owns the hotel.
Jim Frank, CEO of Liberty Lake-based Greenstone Corp., is predicting a busy year for Greenstone and its affiliates.
"It's going to be a pretty good year," he says. "We're in the market segments where we feel that there's good opportunity and lack of inventory."
At the Kendall Yards urban village northwest of downtown, Liberty Lake-based real estate development company Greenstone Corp. is constructing a mix of 38 townhouse units and single-family homes, valued at a combined total of roughly $7.6 million, in the development's residential area west of Maple Street.
Greenstone also is constructing Kendall Yards' first commercial project in the 78-acre development. That project, to be called Cedar Park Commercial Building, includes a $1.5 million, 5,800-square-foot structure in the eastern portion of the development site. Ponderosa Ridge Homes LLC, a Greenstone subsidiary, is the contractor on the project, which was designed in-house. Greenstone hopes to complete the project before fall.
Greenstone's sales office for Kendall Yards will occupy about 1,300 square feet of space in the building.
Near there, Greenstone hopes to start construction this year on a pair of 8,000-square-foot commercial structures. One structure would be a $1.8 million office building and the other would be a $1.5 million structure that would house a mix of office and retail tenants, Frank says.
Separately, a Greenstone affiliate plans to start construction this summer ona $1.2 million, 8,000-square-foot office building on the Meadowwood Technology Campus in Liberty Lake, he says.
Frank says Greenstone plans to develop some commercial buildings on speculation.
Though many lenders are balking at financing speculative projects, Frank says he anticipates a market for a certain niche of such small-to-midsized structures.
"You need a certain amount of spec inventory," Frank says, adding that some businesses that will have immediate needs for space as the economy improves won't have time to wait for a structure to be built for them.
In the River District planned community development north of the Spokane River in Liberty Lake, Greenstone plans to complete $1.5 million in utility and infrastructure improvements to serve the envisioned Telido Station commercial center, Frank says.
In the city of Spokane, projects valued at more than $51 million are under plan review, the largest of which is the $29 million combined second and third phases of the Ferris High School modernization project, at 3020 E. 27th on the South Hill. That will be followed by another phase of a similar value at Ferris before the project is completed in late 2013 or early 2014.
In addition to projects under plan review, building permit applications for nonprofit Rockwood Retirement Communities' $90 million expansion and renovation project are pending or in progress. The plans involve constructing a 10-story, 93-unit apartment tower to be called The Summit, renovating the retirement complex's original seven-story, 105-unit tower, and constructing a new parking lot on the campus at 2903 E. 25th, in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood.
The new tower would have eight floors of living units and two floors of underground parking. Work would include constructing an indoor plaza that would connect the two towers and house shared amenities, such as dining venues. Walker Construction Inc., of Spokane, is the contractor on the project, and Spokane-based NAC|Architecture and New York-based Perkins Eastman Architects PC designed it.
Building permit values for 2011 in Spokane County and the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley totaled $548 million, a 4.3 percent bump from a year earlier, following four years of declining totals.
The total values in the three jurisdictions were boosted by major apartment complexes, the largest of which is the $22.3 million, 120-unit 55th Avenue apartments project, at 3223 E. 55th on the Moran Prairie.
Spokane Housing Ventures, a nonprofit community-housing development organization, is developing the project with Whitewater Creek Inc., of Hayden, as its construction partner. ZBA Architecture PS, of Spokane, designed it.
The project will include six three-story apartment buildings and a 3,200-square-foot, single-story community building. The first completed units tentatively are scheduled to open to tenants in May, and the project is scheduled to be fully completed in August.
The single largest project permitted in the Spokane County in 2011 was the $42.7 million Caterpillar Logistics Services Inc. plant that's nearing completion on the West Plains. Clayco Inc., of St. Louis, is the contractor on the project, which includes a 554,200-square-foot structure. Forum Studio, also of St. Louis, designed it.
Caterpillar Inc., the Peoria, Ill.-based parent of Caterpillar Logistics Services, had estimated at the outset of the project that it would generate more than 300 construction jobs, and the plant is expected to create 100 to 150 permanent jobs. Local subcontractors on the project include Divcon Inc., of Spokane Valley; Piersol Construction Inc., of Airway Heights; and Spokane Valley-based Central Premix Concrete Co.
That project likely will be surpassed in construction value this year by the Washington State University Biomedical and Health Sciences Building project, at 205 E. Spokane Falls Blvd., on the Riverpoint Campus. While WSU estimates the total cost of the project at $78 million, the city ofSpokane has put the construction cost alone at $52.6 million on a pending building permit application to complete the building's shell, core, and interior improvements.
Spokane-based Graham Construction & Management Inc., the contractor on the project, is completing the footings and foundation work, which was approved under a separate permit late last year. Seattlearchitectural firm NBBJ designed the 110,000-square-foot structure, which is expected tobe completed in the summer of 2013.
In a large ongoing project downtown, Spokane-based Lydig Construction Inc. and the Spokane office of Seattle-based McKinstry Co. are teamed in a joint venture to make improvements valued at $33 million to the Thomas S. Foley U.S. Courthouse, at the northeast corner of Riverside Avenue and Monroe Street. The three-year project, which is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2013, includes upgrading electrical, lighting, and mechanical systems throughout the nine-story, 300,000-square-foot structure. Marlton, N.J.-based Hill International Inc., which has a Spokane office, is acting as construction manager for the project under a $2 million contract with the U.S. General Services Administration.
Health care roundup
In a big health-care related project, Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children's Hospital is remodeling and expanding its emergency department at the hospital's main facility, at 101 W. Eighth. The $18.6 million project includes 14,000 square feet of new floor space and 4,000 square feet of renovated space.
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