Spokane Journal of Business

$500 million-plus in work planned, underway in Spokane area

Sweeping bond wins to give industry a boost

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-—Mike McLean
Rockwood Retirement Communities’ $40.1 million Summit residential tower starts to come out of the ground at the organization’s South Hill campus. Walker Construction Inc., of Spokane, is building the 14-level, 65-unit structure.
Builder-developer Eric Brown envisions a $15 million-plus office complex east of the University District. The project is contingent on completion of a road project.
-—City of Spokane
The recently passed $64.3 million Riverfront Park bond measure will fund a number of improvements to the park in coming years, including a complete renovation of the former U.S. Pavilion and relocation of the amenities underneath it.
-—Mike McLean
The city of Spokane Valley’s new City Hall building will be constructed on the old U-City Mall site, shown above. The new structure is slated to be finished in 2017.

With sweeping wins in school bonds and a mix of big public-works and private-sector projects slated to gear up, the Spokane-area construction industry is expected to see more than $500 million in work continue or get under way in 2015. 

Much of that work, however, isn’t slated to be permitted until later this year, and building permit data for Spokane County and the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley show a decline in activity last year, compared with a banner 2013.

For all of 2014, the county and the two cities issued building permits for construction projects worth a total of $739.2 million. That’s down 28 percent from just over $1 billion in permit volume in 2013, but still higher than any other annual total since 2006. 

Last year, the city of Spokane’s then business and development services director, Jan Quintrall, predicted that permit volume wouldn’t keep pace with the 2013 clip, calling that “an amazing year for permit valuations.”

The largest private project to be permitted in 2013, the $135 million Davenport Grand Hotel, is nearing completion. The 15-story, 716-guestroom downtown hotel, located across Spokane Falls Boulevard from the Spokane Convention Center, is expected to be completed late this spring and is being marketed as available for reservations starting June 20.

Developed by prominent Spokane hoteliers Walt and Karen Worthy, the hotel will include an 18,000-square-foot ballroom and 62,500 square feet of meeting space, as well as an attached parking garage with 900 stalls. 

That hotel will be the fourth that the Worthys operate in the city’s core, with the others being the historic Davenport Hotel, the Davenport Tower, and Hotel Lusso. Known collectively as the Davenport Hotel Collection, the four properties will have a total of about 1,380 guest rooms in the city’s core once the new venue opens.

The Worthys’ Spokane Valley-based Worthy Enterprises LLC is the contractor on the project. Craig Woodard, of Brick & Mortar Architecture & Development, of Spokane, is collaborating with Worthy Enterprises on the project design.

Across Spokane Falls Boulevard from the soon-to-be-completed Davenport Grand Hotel, the Spokane Public Facilities District has completed a $55 million Spokane Convention Center expansion. A design-build team consisting of Garco Construction Inc. and ALSC Architects PS, both of Spokane, and LMN Architects, of Seattle, handled the 91,000-square-foot convention center addition, which is located on the north side of the complex and overlooks the Spokane River.

A 112-foot sky bridge, designed by Integrus Architecture PS, of Spokane, has been erected across Spokane Falls Boulevard to connect the convention center and the hotel. 

Another large project that started in 2013 and is ongoing is the $60 million John J. Hemmingson University Center project, on the Gonzaga University campus. That four-level, 168,000-square-foot structure, which replaces the private Jesuit school’s old student union building, is scheduled to be completed this fall. Hoffman Construction Co., of Portland, is the general contractor on the project. Opsis Architecture, also of Portland, is the lead architect on the project, and Bernardo|Wills Architects PS, of Spokane, is the associate architect. 

After a number of permits were issued for large projects in 2013, the highest cost project permitted last year was the Rockwood Retirement Communities’ $40.1 million Summit residential tower project, on the organization’s South Hill campus. 

The 14-level, 65-unit project is starting to come out of the ground now just west of Rockwood’s seven-story apartment building, at 2903 E. 25th. 

Walker Construction Inc., of Spokane, is the contractor on the project. Architectural firms NAC|Architecture PS, of Spokane, and Pittsburgh-based Perkins Eastman designed it. 

The structure, which includes a Sky View Lounge on the top floor and two levels of underground parking, is expected to be completed in the spring of 2016. 

Aside from Rockwood’s Summit project, no other Spokane-area project’s value crested $15 million last year. The next largest were the $14.6 million Cottages at River Run apartment complex, in northwest Spokane, and the $14.1 million Hutton Elementary School modernization and expansion, on the South Hill. 

In addition to the previously mentioned projects, more than $400 million in large Spokane-area projects either are under way or expected to start soon.

That doesn’t include work that will gear up on all of the school bond measures that passed in February’s elections. Voters approved a $145 million bond for Spokane Public Schools projects that, when coupled with state matching dollars, will pay for $205 million in new construction and remodels.

In the Central Valley School District, voters passed a bond that will fund $121.9 million in upgrades, and Mead’s successful measure $101.6 million in work. A number of smaller districts also garnered voter support for improvements that will occur in coming year. 

A large chunk of present Spokane-area work is the $80 million to $100 million upgrade that the city is planning at the Riverside Park Water Reclamation Facility, its main treatment plant. The city started filtration pilot projects and construction of a third solids digester last fall at the big plant, located at 4401 N. Aubrey L. White Parkway, in northwest Spokane. 

The filtration system is intended to remove greater amounts of phosphorus, heavy metals, and polychlorinated biphenyls, with the ultimate goal of removing 99 percent of those materials from the treated wastewater. 

Another large-scale city of Spokane project involves construction of the Nelson Service Center complex, located at 901 N. Nelson, in Spokane’s East Central neighborhood. The $14 million, 57,000-square-foot facility will house the city’s solid waste, street, and fleet operations, and it will enable the city to consolidate large-vehicle fleet repair and maintenance. 

Garco Construction Inc., of Spokane, and Bernardo|Wills Architects are the design-build team on the project, which is scheduled to be completed during this upcoming summer. 

The city of Spokane Valley has a large project of its own slated, with its proposed $14 million City Hall building. To be located on 3.4 acres of the former U-City Mall property, at the southeast corner of Sprague Avenue and Dartmouth Road, the envisioned building is expected to have up to 50,000 square feet of floor space and to house most of the city’s operations, the exceptions being its police department, its parks and recreation department, and its public works maintenance shop.

Design work is expected to start soon on the planned City Hall building, and the city hopes to have the structure completed by March 2017, when the lease expires for its current quarters, in the Redwood Plaza, at 11707 E. Sprague.

Across Sprague from the planned City Hall site, the Spokane County Library District has proposed construction of a new Spokane Valley branch, which would be built in concert with an expansion of Balfour Park. The library district held a $22 million bond election for the project last year that failed to garner enough voter support to pass, but the district is expected to place it on the ballot again this summer. 


In downtown Spokane and the neighboring University District, a number of projects are planned or are under way. 

Beyond the Davenport Grand Hotel, the largest project by far involves the $64.3 million in planned improvements at Riverfront Park.

Approved by voters last November, the park improvements are expected to start late this summer or early in the fall. The Spokane Parks Board is putting out a request for qualifications for a general contractor-construction manager design-build team to oversee the entire project. 

The proposed master plan includes relocation and upgrades to the ice rink and the Looff Carousel, a complete renovation of the U.S. Pavilion, playgrounds—including a 1.5-acre regional playground—tree-lined pedestrian promenades, a new tour train, and new leasable shelters on Havermale Island, as well as the north bank of the park. The new park also will feature a central pathway, security upgrades, new strategic lighting, sound, and improved views.

At the former Ridpath Hotel property at 514 W. First, Wells & Co., of Spokane, is converting the former hotel rooms in the long-empty building into the Ridpath Club Apartments. The $17.9 million project involves converting the building so that it has luxury condominiums on the top floor, retail space at ground level, and what Wells is marketing as micro-apartments in between. The building is scheduled to open this June. 

The Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, of Salt Lake City, has started to implement its downtown campus master plan, which includes as its initial project a $1.5 million addition to the historic International Harvester Co. building at 1030 W. Third. The building will contain the showroom and service facility for the Larry H. Miller Spokane Lexus dealership. 

The project is a component of the company’s master plan for a roughly six-block area along Second and Third avenues that’s bordered on the west by Adams Street and on the east by Monroe Street. The campus plan includes the Larry H. Miller Spokane Honda dealership, at 1125 W. Second, and the company’s Spokane Toyota dealership, at 1208 W. Second.

Garco Construction Inc., of Spokane, is the contractor on the project, and John Mahoney Architect LLC, of Tempe, designed it. Whipple Consulting Engineers Inc., of Spokane Valley, is providing engineering services.

At the northwest corner of Third Avenue and Division Street, on a lot where a hotel project started and was brought to an abrupt halt six years ago, owners Rita and John Santillanes are planning a $2 million retail-and-office building. The couple is working with Baker Construction & Development Inc., of Spokane, which has approached the city with a preliminary concept for a two-story, 16,700-square-foot building. 

As envisioned, the building at would have 10,700 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the ground floor and 6,000 square feet of office space on the second floor.

On the north bank of the Spokane River, just northwest of the city’s core, Liberty Lake-based Greenstone Corp. and its affiliates continue to build out the Kendall Yards mixed-used development at a rapid pace. 

In a new project there, North Gorge Commercial Partners LLC is constructing a three-story, mixed-use building just east of the similarly sized Highline Lofts building in Kendall Yards. To be located at 1104 Summit Parkway, the $3 million building is expected to have 27,000 square feet of space in all, with ground floor retail space and living units on the upper floors. 

Continental Contractors, of Nine Mile Falls, is the contractor on the project, and Spokane architect Jerry Ressa designed it.

On the eastern edge of Spokane’s University District, Spokane developer and contractor Eric Brown plans to build a $15 million-plus office complex. 

To be located on the 7 acres located underneath and on each side of the Hamilton Street Bridge, the project tentatively named Spokane River Properties Development would have four three-story office buildings and one single-story retail structure.

Construction of the project is contingent on an extension of Martin Luther King Jr. Way, which could begin in late summer if rights of way are acquired and funding is secured. 

Two of the office buildings each would have a total of 24,000 square feet of space, and two would have 15,000 square feet each, he says. The retail building would have 3,000 square feet of space, bringing the combined square footage in the complex to 81,000 square feet. The development also would have a surface lot with close to 200 parking spaces.

Brown’s construction company, Brown Contracting & Development Inc., of Spokane Valley, would be the contractor on the project. Nystrom+Olson Architecture provided preliminary design services, although Brown says he hasn’t selected an architect yet for the overall project. The Spokane office of Seattle-based DCI Engineers Inc. is the civil engineer on the project.

Around town


North of downtown, at 1120 N. Division, development company GVD Northwest LLC is nearing completion of the $6.8 million Ruby Suites extended-stay residential suites. The project has involved converting the Burgans Block, which for years had housed Burgans Fine Furniture, into the hotel, with retail bays on the ground level.

Mauer Construction Inc., of Spokane, is the general contractor on the project, and Bernardo|Wills designed it. 

Spokane-based Ruby Hospitality LLC, an affiliate of GVD Northwest, will operate the hotel. That company also operates Hotel Ruby and Sapphire Lounge, at 901 W. First, and the Ruby2 Hotel, at 123 S. Post, both downtown. 

Farther north on Division Street, Chicago-based General Growth Properties is far along on a partial reconfiguration of NorthTown Mall, at 4750 N. Division.

The $8.5 million in renovation work is occurring at the north end of NorthTown, between Kohl’s and Macy’s department stores. There, 120,000 square feet of floor space has been demolished and 63,000 square feet of new space is being built for new shops, restaurants, and an enclosed loading dock. The remodel also involves creating two new, large entrances facing Queen Avenue.

Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., the Minneapolis-based restaurant chain, is looking at building one of its restaurants and bars at NorthTown. Plans on file with the city of Spokane put that project’s value at about $1.4 million and say the 5,000-square-foot eatery would be just west of Kohl’s. Buffalo Wild Wings currently operates two restaurants in the Inland Northwest, one near the Spokane Valley Mall and another in Coeur d’Alene.

At 8202 N. Division, Deaconess Hospital has proposed a $5.2 million ambulatory health care center. The single-story, 12,700-square-foot building is planned as a stand-alone emergency center.

MJ Harris Construction Services LLC, of Birmingham, Ala., is the contractor on the project, and HFR Inc., of Brentwood, Tenn., is providing architectural and engineering services.

Deaconess and Valley hospitals are operated by Spokane-based Rockwood Health System, an affiliate of Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems. At Deaconess Hospital, at 800 W. Fifth, the company is remodeling and expanding its emergency room in a $3.7 million project that’s scheduled to be completed this spring. MJ Harris Construction also is the contractor on that project, and Ascension Group Architects, of Arlington, Texas, designed it.

Elsewhere on the North Side, Spokane Public Radio, known as KPBX FM 91.1 is well underway on a $5 million remodel of former city Fire Station No. 3, at 1229 N. Monroe. The organization plans to move its operations into the two-story, 11,250-square-foot building by the end of June. 

Walker Construction is the contractor on that project.

On the West Plains, Exotic Metals Forming Company LLC, a Kent, Wash.-based aerospace supplier, is constructing a 150,000-square-foot aerospace manufacturing facility. Located on a 57-acre site that the company bought from Spokane International Airport near McFarlane Road and Lawson Street, the facility is expected to be completed this summer. 

Walker Construction is the general contractor on that project, and Bernardo|Wills Architects designed it. 

Linn  Parish
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Editor Linn Parish has worked for newspapers and magazines since 1996, with the bulk of that time being at the Journal. A Montana boy who has called Spokane home for some time now, Linn likes Northwest trails, Deep South foods, and lead changes in the ninth inning.

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