Spokane Journal of Business

Visible improvement expected for construction industry

$1 billion in permits in 2013 said to boost work this year

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-—Linn Parish
The $135 million convention center hotel complex starts to come out of the ground on the South Block in downtown Spokane. A public parking structure there could be completed late this year, and the hotel is scheduled to be finished in the summer of 2015.
-—Mike McLean
This long-dormant structure on Spokane’s North Side is slated to be rehabilitated this year to house a Sportsman’s Warehouse store, marking that chain’s re-entry to the Spokane market.
-—General Growth Properties
General Growth Properties, the Chicago-based owner of NorthTown Mall, is preparing to give the north end of the shopping center a new look.
-—Bernardo|Wills Architects
A library-park project, depicted here, is being proposed along Sprague Avenue in Spokane Valley that would include expanding Balfour Park.

Spokane-area residents can expect to see a lot of construction this year, judging by the volume of projects permitted in 2013.

Building permit values for Spokane County and the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley totaled $1 billion in 2013, up a whopping 50 percent from a year earlier, and multimillion dollar projects with a combined value of well over $500 million will be at some stage of design or construction this year.

Jan Quintrall, business and development services director for the city of Spokane, predicts that this will also be a good year for building permits, although the total valuation likely won’t be as high as 2013.

“I don’t think we’re going to see a year like 2013, which was an amazing year for permit valuations,” Quintrall says. “The best part about permits issued in 2013 is that now the work is happening, and that means jobs.”

The largest private project under way in the Spokane area is the $135 million convention center headquarters hotel complex that prominent Spokane developers and hoteliers Walt and Karen Worthy are erecting downtown at 333 W. Spokane Falls Boulevard.

The project includes a 15-story, 715-room hotel with 70,000 square feet of assembly space, a restaurant, and a lounge. It also includes a parking garage with 900 stalls.

The project site is a full city block known as the South Block that the Worthys bought from the Spokane Public Facilities District for $6.7 million in September. It’s directly south, across Spokane Falls Boulevard from the INB Performing Arts Center, which is on the west half of the Spokane Convention Center complex.

Matt Jensen, marketing director for the Worthys’ Davenport Hotel Collection, says a public parking portion of the garage could be ready late this year, and the hotel will open the following summer, eventually employing 500 to 600 people.

“We’re hoping to have a soft opening for the public parking on the south side this fall,” Jensen says. 

Customers already are booking dates at the hotel, he says.

“We’ve got a strong list of potential clients, and several have confirmed already,” Jensen says. “We’ve got groups looking out into 2020 with the soonest potentially in July 2015.”

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.

Meantime, on the north side of Spokane Falls Boulevard, the Spokane PFD has started work on a $55 million Spokane Convention Center expansion.

The design-build team made up of Garco Construction Inc. and ALSC Architects PS, both of Spokane, and LMN Architects, of Seattle, is constructing the 91,000-square-foot convention center addition.

The project will include exhibit, meeting, and support space on the north side of the exhibit hall, which is at the northwest corner of Spokane Falls Boulevard and Division Street.

The project also includes infrastructure upgrades and improvements to a 900-foot section of the Centennial Trail, and a shoreline habitat rehabilitation project along the Spokane River near the convention center expansion area.

Still subject to approval by the Spokane City Council, the PFD also envisions constructing a 112-foot-long skywalk over Spokane Falls Boulevard that would connect the Convention Center and the new hotel. Integrus Architecture PS, of Spokane, is designing the proposed skywalk.

In another large project, United Methodists Homes, which does business here as Rockwood Retirement Communities, last month obtained building permits for its long-planned $51 million apartment tower, to be called The Summit, on its Rockwood South Hill campus.

The structure, to be erected just west of Rockwood’s current seven-story apartment tower at 2903 E. 25th, will have 65 living units and 14 levels, including two levels of underground parking.

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

The building will include a fitness center, a spa, a creative-arts studio, a library, and a ballroom. The top floor will feature the Sky View Lounge with views looking northeast toward Mount Spokane.

The project is expected to take about two years to complete.

In another retirement-home project, Spokane Baptist Association Homes has launched a $10 million renovation of the 13-story Lilac Plaza low-income senior apartment tower on the North Side.

The project includes a makeover of all 174 living units and the common areas as well as an update of the building’s electrical and mechanical infrastructure at the facility at 7007 N. Wiscomb, a few blocks north of Francis Avenue and east of Division Street.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Kop Construction Inc., of Spokane, is the contractor on the project, and ZBA Architecture PS, of Spokane, designed it.

Rosy outlook

Projects valued at over $116 million are in the city of Spokane’s pipeline, including the planned Sacred Heart Intensive Care Unit expansion and the NorthTown Mall redevelopment project, which total $17.2 million.

The pipeline total doesn’t include an $80 million to $100 million upgrade that the city of Spokane is planning for its Riverside Park Water Reclamation Facility, which is its main sewage treatment plant.

Quintrall says, “I’m optimistic because the city itself is doing so many projects.”

The city will begin design work this year on the sewage treatment plant, located at 4401 N. Aubrey L. White Parkway, she says.

The city is interviewing contractors that submitted qualifications for design and construction management of the project and expects to select a firm this spring, she says.

The project will include constructing a new filtration system to remove greater amounts of phosphorus, heavy metals, and polychlorinated biphenyls from the effluent.

 Construction of that project will begin in 2015 and take about two years to complete.

Meantime, also at the Riverside Park Water Reclamation Facility, Hoffman Contractors Inc., of Spokane, is working on five projects valued at $8 million.

The work will include replacing digester gas equipment and installing a new gravity-belt system, a backup power system, fire safety equipment, and heaters and fans.

The Spokane office of Englewood, Colo.-based CH2M Hill Inc. designed the projects, which are expected to be completed by spring 2015.

The city also plans to begin work this spring on a $14 million facility to be named the Nelson Service Center, which will consolidate the city’s solid waste, street, and fleet operations at one location at 901 N. Nelson, in Spokane’s East Central neighborhood. Garco and Bernardo|Wills Architects PC, of Spokane, are the design-build team on the project.

The complex will include vehicle service areas, office space, and training facilities totaling more than 50,000 square feet of indoor space and several acres of uncovered parking. The project is expected to be completed in summer 2015.


The $58 million Providence Medical Park-Spokane Valley, which is the largest ongoing construction project in Spokane Valley, is nearly complete and is scheduled to open to patients this spring.

Providence Medical Group, the physician division of Spokane-based Providence Health Care, is developing the 127,000-square-foot complex at 16528 E. Desmet Court. Bouten Construction Co., of Spokane, is the contractor on the project, and Seattle-based Mahlum Architects Inc. designed it.

Spokane’s two largest hospitals are well into the planning stages of multimillion-dollar construction projects this year.

In one project, Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital, located at 101 W. 8th, plans a $9.7 million expansion of its cardiac intensive care unit. The project would include a 17,000-square-foot, second-floor addition to the central tower and remodeling 12,000 square feet of floor space on the second floor of the tower.

Bouten Construction is the contractor on the planned project, and Mahlum Architects designed it. Construction for the project is envisioned to start this spring and take 20 months to complete.

In the other big hospital project, Deaconess Hospital, at 800 W. Fifth, is planning a $3.7 million expansion of its emergency department.

The project would include an 1,900-square-foot, ground-floor addition, which would be attached to the south and west sides of the hospital’s 11-story patient-bed tower. The project also would include renovating 11,100 square feet of space in the Deaconess Emergency Department with new mechanical air-handling equipment and an expanded waiting room and building entrance on the ground floor of the tower.

Ascension Group Architects, of Arlington, Texas, is designing the Deaconess project, and construction is expected to begin this year. No contractor has been named for the project yet.


A redevelopment project for the NorthTown Mall, at 4750 N. Division, will reconfigure the mall with two grand entrances facing Queen Avenue, says Laura Young, Lynnwood, Wash.-based senior leasing representative with Chicago-based General Growth Properties, which owns the mall.

The $8.5 million project includes demolishing 120,000 square feet of retail space and constructing 63,000 square feet of space for new shops, restaurants, and an enclosed loading dock.

Young says several lease agreements are being finalized, including some with national-brand tenants that would be new to the Spokane market, although she declines to identify them for now. 

The main construction and renovation work area will be conducted in the north portion of the mall between the Macy’s and Kohl’s department stores. The project also will include interior remodeling of existing space in the mall, including painting, new lighting, and signage throughout the property, Young says.

No contractor or architect has been named for the work yet, although records on file with the city of Spokane show Bernardo|Wills Architects, and Mercer Island, Wash.-based Bayley Construction have been involved in the application process.

General Growth expects the project will be completed early next year.

In another retail project on the North Side, Sportsman’s Warehouse, the Utah-based national outdoor recreation and sporting goods chain, plans to re-enter the Spokane market with a new store to be located at the site of a long-dormant construction project at 6720 N. Division.

The company is proposing to complete a 36,000-square-foot store, which would include a 9,000-square-foot addition to a partially constructed building shell that was erected in 2001 for a now-defunct retailer. Salt Lake City-based GA Architects, is designing the project, and estimates the cost of remaining construction will be $1.7 million. The original construction valuation of the project back in 2001 was $5.5 million.

No contractor has been named for the project, but construction is expected to resume this spring and to take about a year to complete.

On the upper South Hill, several retail structures valued at a total of $9.2 million are under construction at the 15-acre Regal Plaza shopping center development at the southeast corner of the Regal Street and Palouse Highway junction. Regal Plaza will be anchored by a 135,000-square-foot Target store under construction at 4915 S. Regal, on the east end of the development.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. is developing the $6.4 million anchor store, and Dave Black Properties LLC, of Spokane, is developing four smaller multitenant retail buildings there. 

Skanska USA Building Inc., of Parsippany, N.J., is the contractor on the Target project, and Bellevue, Wash.-based MulvanyG2 Architecture Corp. designed it. The store is scheduled to open this summer.

The Dave Black Properties’ projects at Regal Plaza include a 15,700-square-foot, two-tenant building in which PetSmart, the Phoenix-based pet-supply chain, will occupy 12,000 square feet. The site for the $1.1 million building is at 4919 S. Regal, which is in the southwest corner of the Regal Plaza development.

Dave Black Properties is developing two 8,000-square-foot buildings, each valued at $630,000, that are under construction in the northwest section of the development. One building will face Regal Street and the other will face the Palouse Highway. Each will have up to five tenants. Café Rio, a Salt Lake City-based Mexican restaurant chain, will occupy 3,000 square feet of space in one of the buildings.

Café Rio and PetSmart also are expected to open in Regal Plaza this summer.

The fourth structure that Dave Black Properties is developing there is on the north side of the Target store, near the Palouse Highway. It will have 3,500 square feet of floor space with up to five retail bays.

Yost, Mooney & Pugh Contractors Inc., of Spokane, is the contractor for all four Dave Black Properties projects, at Regal Plaza, and Bernardo|Wills Architects, PC, of Spokane, designed them.

Closer to the Spokane’s city center, Spokane Development company GVD Northwest LLC is converting the Burgan’s Fine Furniture Block, at 1120 N. Division, on the west edge of the University District, into the Ruby Suites mixed-use complex through a $6.8 million renovation of a four-story former furniture store and a three-story warehouse. Mauer Construction Inc., of Spokane, is the contractor on the project, and Bernardo|Wills Architects designed it.

Ruby Suites will include a total of 45 extended-stay residential suites with related amenities, plans show. A fitness center and clubhouse will be constructed on the street level of the former furniture store, and three commercial bays will be constructed on the ground floor of the warehouse structure. 

Valley work

Residents within a certain area of the Spokane County Library District in and around the city of Spokane Valley will be asked to vote this spring on $22 million bond measure that would fund construction of three library projects. 

The largest project would be a new $15 million Valley branch building on Sprague Avenue, near Balfour Park, which would replace the aging Valley branch facility at 12004 E. Main.

The Valley branch project would be located on a 2.8-acre portion of an 8.4-acre parcel the city of Spokane Valley bought a year ago next to Balfour Park, northwest of the Balfour Road-Sprague intersection.

The other library projects would include a new 10,000-square foot branch on Conklin Road, near Sprague Avenue, and a 6,000-square-foot addition to the Argonne branch, at 4322 N. Argonne.

If voters approve the bond measure, construction of the Valley library would begin in 2015, and it would open in 2016.

Meantime, the city of Spokane Valley is planning a 5.6-acre expansion of Balfour Park at an estimated cost of $4 million to $5 million that would be funded separately from the library bond.

The park has a sand volleyball court, picnic tables, play equipment, restrooms, and parking. The city envisions adding a splash pad, basketball court, shelter, amphitheater, more parking, and landscaping in the areas between the library site and associated parking.

Project consultant Bernardo|Wills Architects has drawn up the joint site plan for the park and library.

 Also in Spokane Valley, CarMax Inc., the Richmond, Va.-based chain of used-car dealerships, will open a Spokane Valley outlet this spring in a $4.8 million dealership complex at 7902 E. Sprague. The project includes a construction of a 44,000-square-foot dealership building on 9 acres of land that CarMax bought in 2012 for $3.6 million. Vandervert Construction Inc., of Spokane, is the contractor on the project, and Terry L. Herr, of Alpharetta, Ga., designed it.

Farther east, Liberty Lake-based real estate development company Greenstone Corp. is completing work on a $7.3 million, 64,000-square-foot building at 24021 E. Mission, in the Meadowwood Technology Campus, in Liberty Lake.

Liberty Mutual Insurance, the Boston-based insurance conglomerate, plans to occupy the entire structure this spring, moving some operations there from 22425 E. Appleway, in Liberty Lake. Liberty Mutual Insurance also occupies 105,000 square feet of space in the 250,000-square-foot Meadowwood One building, which is directly south of the Meadowwood Three project.

Divcon Inc., of Spokane Valley, is the contractor on the project, and Bernardo|Wills Architects designed it.

West Plains

Across town, on the West Plains, work is expected to be completed this spring on a $20 million, 200,000-square-foor regional warehouse facility under construction at 5180 W. Thorpe Road for Bellevue, Wash.-based wholesale beverage distributor Odom Corp.

Boston-based The Design Group is the contractor on the project, which it also designed.

Also on the West Plains, light industrial equipment manufacturer Wemco Inc., of Airway Heights, is building a $6 million production facility on a 10-acre parcel at 5510 W. Thorpe.

The project includes constructing a 68,000-square-foot manufacturing plant and three smaller support buildings, including a 19,000-square-foot paint and processing building. Garco Construction is the contractor on the project, and Architectural Ventures, of Spokane Valley, designed it. The project is expected to be completed this summer.

At Spokane International Airport, Spokane-based Associated Painters Inc. expects to expand operations this spring into a second aircraft painting hanger, where it will paint Boeing Co. jetliners. The $5.5 million, 32,000-square-foot structure is under construction at 8,510 W. Electric, just east of Associated Painters’ current facilities at the south edge of the airport.

Garco Construction is the contractor on the project, and Bernardo|Wills Architects designed it.

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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