Spokane Journal of Business

Exotic Metals moves ahead with big expansion

Aerospace manufacturer plans to add roughly 300 employees to workforce

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Kent, Washington-based Exotic Metals Forming Co. is moving forward with the construction of its new manufacturing facility at its 56.6-acre property on west McFarlane Road in Airway Heights.

The aerospace sheet metal fabrication company applied for a building permit in early May for a manufacturing facility at 12933 W. McFarlane Road. The application currently is being reviewed by the city of Airway Heights.

A representative of Exotic Metals couldn’t be reached for comment.

Exotic Metals filed an environmental impact checklist in September 2018 that outlined two new facilities located just west of its existing facility. The project is expected to be completed in two phases -- one per building -- each expected to have between 150,000 to 175,000 square feet of floor space.

Also included will be two employee parking lots, with 150 parking stalls each, as well as landscaping and other site improvements. Site plans also show the company plans to develop roads for ease of access to each facility.

The project was put on hold late last year after the city of Airway Heights requested that a traffic impact study be performed. Spokane Valley-based Sunburst Engineering conducted the traffic study in early February.

Construction on phase one will begin this year and will be completed in 2020, according to the documents. A timeline for phase two hasn’t been established yet.

Plans also indicate a third, 25,000-square-foot storage building will be built.

The two new manufacturing facilities will be a maximum of 40-feet tall and will be built using concrete tilt-up panel construction, plans show.

EMFCO Holdings Inc., Exotic Metals’ parent company, purchased the property on west McFarlane Road for $743,000 in April of 2014, according to Spokane County Assessor’s records.

The company anticipates hiring 150 employees per building, according to the environmental documents and the traffic study. Exotic Metals held a career fair on April 23 at the Mirabeau Park Hotel and Convention Center to fill positions such as assemblers, machine operators, laser operators, welders, and project engineers at its Airway Heights location.

Exotic Metals built its existing 150,000-square-foot facility on the West Plains in mid-2015, the Journal previously reported. Walker Construction Inc., of Spokane, was the general contractor on that project, and Bernardo|Wills Architects PC, also of Spokane, designed it. Building permit information doesn’t name a contractor or architect for the expansion projects.

Walker Construction also built the 126,500-square-foot Kent headquarters for the company. According to its website, the project included a 20,000-square-foot research testing area, 30,000 square feet of storage, and 16,620 square feet of administrative space.

A representative of Walker Construction declines to confirm whether the company will construct the planned buildings at Exotic Metals’ Airway Heights facility project.

Exotic Metals was established in 1966 by Don Lindsey. The family-owned company manufactures components and systems for both commercial airliners and military aircraft. It also has a manufacturing facility in Phoenix.


Natasha Nellis
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Reporter Natasha Nellis joined the Journal in May 2018 and covers real estate and construction. Natasha is an avid reader and loves taking photos, traveling, and learning new languages.

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