Spokane Journal of Business

EWU commits to envisioned Catalyst Building

150K-square-foot building scheduled for 2020 opening

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-Michael Green Architects
-Michael Green Architects

Eastern Washington University President Mary Cullinan said this morning that the university plans to move three academic departments to the $50 million, Avista Development-proposed Catalyst Building, in Spokane’s University District.  

Construction of the 150,000-square-foot structure is scheduled to start in September on the 500 block of east Sprague Avenue and to be completed in April 2020.

EWU plans to move the computer science, electrical engineering and the visual communication design departments to the new building when it’s finished.

The move will involve relocating 50 faculty members and a total of 1,000 students, Cullinan said.

The university’s college of business and administration, and health sciences and public health, already are located in Spokane’s University District and currently serve 3,000 students, Cullinan said.

“Ever since (Avista CEO) Scott Morris articulated his vision for this incredible building in this incredible space, I wanted to see Eastern in this building,” said Cullinan, speaking at a standing-room only press conference near the site of the future Catalyst Building

“I wanted Eastern to be the anchor tenant. It will dramatically increase opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration with companies and other universities,” she said.

Avista Development owns the land on which the building will be constructed and has formed a separate entity, the South Landing Building A LLC, with McKinstry executives Dean Allen and Bill Teplicky to develop the project. Allen and Teplicky have developed more than 1.3 million square feet in Spokane, Seattle, and Portland combined, Avista said.

Avista Development also owns parcels to the south, east, and west and has plans for future development of those locations.

The new building will be near south landing of the University District Gateway Bridge currently under construction.

Katerra Inc., a Menlo Park, Calif.-based design, build, and construction manufacturing company, which also will be a tenant in the building, will serve as the design builder for the project. McKinstry will be the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection and data contractor. Vancouver, B.C.,-based Michael Green Architects is the design architect.

The building will be “net-zero ready,” meaning it will generate the electricity it uses through solar panels on the roof and additional renewable energy technologies, Avista said.

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