Spokane Journal of Business

Daines eyes $50 million office park

Complex could house 1,000 workers, but tenants must be secured if it’s to proceed

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Packet Engines Inc. founder Bernard Daines says a high-tech office park he hopes to develop in the Spokane Valley could house dozens of buildings with up to 3 million square feet of floor space and the capacity to house more than 1,000 workers.

Plans for the office park are on hold, though, until Daines is able to find tenants that are willing to commit to locating there.

The proposed office park, which currently is being called Packet Park, would be located on 90 acres of land just north of Interstate 90, between Sullivan and Flora roads. The land currently is owned by Spokane industrialist and developer Raymond Hanson. Daines says talks regarding the land havent been finalized, but if the office park were to proceed, he expects that he would form a partnership or a limited liability company with Hanson and others to develop it.

Daines declines to estimate how much it would cost to develop the entire 90-acre site, saying the project would be developed in several phases. He says, however, that the cost of the buildings alone would total more than $50 million.

The office park originally was intended to house a new facility for Packet Engines, a high-tech computer-networking company here that was sold last December to Paris-based Alcatel for $315 million. However, Alcatel since has decided not to expand Packet Engines here, Daines says.

Now, Daines is working on launching his next high-tech startup, tentatively called Worldwide Packets, and that company might occupy space in the planned park, he says.

No other users have committed to lease space yet, although Avista Corp. has expressed interest in opening a back-office operation there for its Avista Advantage business unit, and Visiontec President Rick Hansen has said he would like to see that company there, Daines says. He adds that at least two other large companies also have inquired about occupying space in the proposed park. Daines declines to disclose the two large companies, but says, Theyre all names you would recognize.

If tenants were secured, Daines says he and his partners likely would develop a first phase that would include four or five buildings with about 500,000 square feet of floor space.

One of the selling points of the property, besides the surrounding mountains and its views of the Spokane River just to the north, is that the Centennial Trail serves as the northern border of at least half of the property, Daines says. He says that should be especially attractive to high-tech workers who would be able to ride their bicycles to work from home along the Centennial Trail.

Within the park, Daines hopes to build a four- to five-story structure on the middle of the northern side of the property, near where the Spokane River curves to the north. He envisions restaurants, which would have views of the Spokane River, occupying space on the top floors of the planned multistory building. Other tenants in that facility might include a fitness center and a day-care center. He says the building also likely would house conference rooms that could be used by employees who work at the park.

Preliminary plans for the park show extra land at the northwest corner of Interstate 90 and Flora that hasnt been included as part of the office park. Daines says that extra land has been set aside for possible future use by the state for a mini interchange.

If this park really generates as much traffic as we think its going to, were going to be required to build a type of mini interchange there, Daines says.

Plans for the proposed office park have been in development for the past two years, Daines says.

He says the project had been stalled earlier because the county wouldnt allow Hanson to develop land near the Spokane Valley Mall, which is located across Sullivan to the west, until a public-private agreement to pay for the new Interstate 90-Evergreen Road interchange had been signed.

Bernardo-Wills Architects PC, of Spokane, designed the preliminary site plan of the planned office park.

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