Spokane Journal of Business

Caterpillar buys land next to its West Plains facility

Some speculate that company will expand

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-—Mike McLean

Caterpillar Logistics Services Inc. has purchased a parcel of land next to its big distribution center on the West Plains, leading some people familiar with the transaction to conclude that the company is planning to expand there soon.

Dick Edwards, a commercial real estate broker at Hawkins Edwards Inc., of Spokane, says Caterpillar recently exercised a multiyear option it had to buy 7 acres of land north of the company’s distribution center, just south of Interstate 90.

Caterpillar opened its 562,000-square-foot distribution center last year at 9610 W. Hallett Road, just west of Spokane. The plant employs 140 people.

Spokane County Commissioner Al French, who had worked to help land regional distribution plant here, says Caterpillar originally wanted to build a 1 million-square-foot facility. 

“With this acquisition of property, it gives them room to expand,” French says.

French says he hasn’t heard directly from the company about plans for the recent land buy.

“The most they were able to tell me is Caterpillar closed on the property,” he says.

Caterpillar representatives couldn’t be reached immediately for comment, although the West Plains center manager earlier had told the Journal that the facility was designed and built with expansion in mind.

French speculates that the acquisition means that Caterpillar wants to expand sooner rather than later.

“I imagine the only reason they would exercise the option is because they are getting ready to move forward,” he says.

Edwards says Caterpillar had at least two more years remaining on the option.

“If they didn’t need it, they wouldn’t have bought it,” he says. 

Edwards says he worked on the transaction with a real estate consultant for Caterpillar Inc.’s corporate headquarters, in Peoria, Ill.

Caterpillar Inc. is the parent company of Morton, Ill.-based Caterpillar Logistics Services.

The Caterpillar Logistics Services plant on the West Plains supplies five regional Caterpillar heavy equipment dealerships, including Western States Equipment Co., which operates  sales and rentals outlets here and serves Eastern Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and parts of Wyoming.

The plant’s total service area also includes Western Washington, North Dakota, western Canada, Alaska, and a small area of eastern Russia.

The facility ships more than 10,000 heavy equipment parts per day.

“I think they’re pretty happy with Spokane,” Edwards says of Caterpillar.

The plant is one of four regional distribution facilities brought online since 2009 as part of a realignment of Caterpillar’s distribution network in North America.

Mike McLean
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Deputy Editor Mike McLean has worked his entire journalism career in the Inland Northwest. Mike, who also lives to reel in fish and crank up music, has worked for the Journal since 2006.

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