A Post Falls urban center is in the worx
Plans include 685 living units, hotel, retail uses; up to $200M in work envisioned at old mill site
Karina EliasMarch 30th, 2023
A&A Construction & Development Inc., of Spokane, is constructing a new urban center in Post Falls.
Once completed, the 32-acre Millworx development a few blocks east of City Hall will have about 685 living units in 615,000 square feet of residential space, says Ryan Ruffcorn, architect with A&A Construction. Millworx also will have 104,000 square feet of commercial space.
The total value of the development is estimated at $150 million to $200 million, he says. That’s substantially larger in scope and cost than when the Journal first reported plans for Millworx as a $20.5 million project with about 120 residential units in January 2022.
Millworx is being developed on the grounds of the former Idaho Veneer Co. mill site, centered at 704 E. Fourth. The development site runs along East Fourth Avenue, west of North Idaho Road, south of Interstate 90 and a block north of the Idaho Centennial Trail.
The development company has completed the first phase of construction consisting of 61 townhomes and 60 multifamily units.
Jacobs says listing prices for the townhomes aren’t finalized, but are estimated to range from $450,000 to $800,000.
Ruffcorn says the company hopes to put the units on the market May 1.
West of the townhomes, the first 60 apartment units will be available for rent in two buildings.
Davis says he has leased a suite in one of those buildings to a personal fitness studio called Shift.
The development also will be home to a new Hyatt Place Hotel, a bookstore bistro and café, and other retail businesses, including a boutique gym and eateries, says Ruffcorn.
Millworx is the largest development that A&A Construction has led, he says, although the company developed a 326-unit apartment complex, named Woodland Meadows on 18 acres of land it purchased in 2016 located at 1124 E Fourth, just east of the Millworx site.
As reported earlier by the Journal, the construction value for Woodland Meadows was estimated at over $23 million.
“It’s really a rare (opportunity) to build a downtown,” Ruffcorn says of the Millworx development.
In 2020, A&A Construction purchased the Millworx site and began working with the city of Post Falls with the vision of redeveloping the property while retaining some Idaho Veneer mill artifacts, such as the old hog fuel silo that stands in the center of the development.
Danny Davis, associate broker with Coldwell Banker Commercial Schneidmiller Realty, says Millworx is being developed through the city of Post Falls Smart Code zoning regulations.
Post Falls first adopted Smart Code zoning in 2010 with the aim to encourage economic development, with an emphasis on natural features, infill development, and affordable housing.
Ruffcorn says Smart Code zoning calls for a minimum of 18 residential units per acre for the Millworx site.
At the center of the new urban community, west of the apartments and townhomes, is the silo, which has been branded with the Millworx logo. Ruffcorn says the Idaho Veneer structure will be the heart of the community and the backdrop for a stage or amphitheater. Development plans surrounding the silo include retail buildings and restaurant spaces with decks and views of the silo.
Site plans show an existing 3,800-square-foot building north of the silo and parallel to East Fourth Avenue that will either be remodeled for reuse or razed to be redeveloped.
West of the silo, two mixed-use buildings are planned that will feature retail space on the ground floors and a total of 120 apartment units on upper floors, site plans show.
Ruffcorn says A&A Construction also is working with the city to build a roundabout to extend Idaho Road, which currently terminates where it connects with East Fourth Avenue from the north.
“The big picture plan is to carry (Idaho Road) through East Fourth and across the tracks and connect down to Third Avenue,” he says.
Three projects are planned on the 11-acre north portion of the Millworx site near the southeast corner of Idaho Road and Fourth Avenue.
There, A&A Construction plans to build a 151-guestroom Hyatt Place Hotel. Ruffcorn says the design phase for the hotel is about 30% complete, and he expects to submit plans to the city in October and begin construction in the spring of 2024.
South of the hotel will be a 4,000-square-foot retail building, says Ruffcorn.
West of the planned hotel, a two-story, commercial building is under construction that will be occupied by Kindred & Co. Bookstore & Bistro. Leone & Keeble Inc., of Spokane, is the contractor on that project, which is expected to be completed by late summer. It’s the only project at Millworx that’s not being developed by A&A, says Ruffcorn.
The European-inspired bookstore will have a sit-down coffee shop and a community gathering space, he says.
Davis says a 3-acre parcel between the bookstore and the hotel site is for sale for $12.50 per square foot.
Ruffcorn says A&A Construction is beginning work on the next phase of mixed commercial buildings on the property, which he says will include two apartment buildings with 22 living units each and commercial space on the ground floors, as well as a third mixed-use building with 67 residential units above 8,000 square feet of commercial space.
As the construction phases move west, Ruffcorn says, there will be more apartment units and condos, as well as a planned active-living community for 55 and older residents.
Ruffcorn and Davis say, as the development begins to take shape, other developers have taken notice and have begun to purchase small lots of land nearby for future and current projects.