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Scaled-Down Expo Project Contributes To Post Falls Building Boom

Wed., Aug. 23, 1995, midnight

Although the gigantic International Expo project has been shelved, abandoned, scaled done, whatever, the Post Falls building boom hardly is over.

A drive around the area shows the activity. Commercial construction is heavy in every corner of the scattered metropolis. Just try to connect with one of the beleaguered employees of the Post Falls building or planning departments. They’re so busy trying to catch up that … well, they can’t.

At this point, the best way to describe the 600-acre Expo project, once hyped as the largest retail/entertainment/industrial development in the Northwest, is “scaled down.” Evidently beaten to the anchor stores by the planned Spokane Valley Mall, Expo’s owners currently are developing just one acre.

A Texaco gas station and convenience store and a Burger King restaurant are under construction at the northwest corner of Pleasantview and Fifth Avenue. This intersection should be controlled by traffic lights within the year.

The Burger King will not be your ordinary Burger King, although it will offer a menu consistent with its other cafes. This 2,900-square-foot restaurant, the seventh in the Inland Northwest owned by Ed and Mike Hatter of Coeur d’Alene, has a 1950s theme, inside and out.

The exterior will be highlighted by neon lights and a three-story playground. The interior will sport ‘50s-ish booths, decorations, a black and white checkered floor and a ‘57 Chevy front end (in one booth). About 50 employees will serve an area built to accommodate 90 customers.

The Hatters also are constructing two more Burger Kings, one in the new Spokane Transit Authority bus Plaza in downtown Spokane and the other on the Washington State University campus.

The 3,000-square-foot Texaco station and convenience store will have about seven employees. Owner is Larry Gutherie, who also owns a Texaco station in Post Falls and two in the Spokane Valley. He was educated at Gonzaga University.

Both new businesses should open by early October.

And the rest of Expo? Fred Meyer Stores Inc. purchased property along Pleasantview Road in 1993, but spokespersons won’t divulge any company plans for the site. Meanwhile, Fred Meyer remains on track for a large store making an “L” around Parker Toyota at Highway 95 and Kathleen Avenue in Coeur d’Alene.

Ramsden & Lyons law firm will be the primary occupant of a 6,000-square-foot building to be constructed on the northeast corner of Fourth Street and Foster Avenue in Coeur d’Alene. Attorneys Michael Ramsden and Marc Lyons will move from their offices at 607 Front to the upper level of the new building.

Owner of the new building is John Beutler & Associates real estate firm, which will remain in its neighboring building at 618 N. Fourth. Designed by Miller Stauffer Architects of Coeur d’Alene, the 80-foot-long facility will feature skylights. The first level is available for lease.

Construction should begin in September by Polin Construction. Completion should be in January.

Meckel Engineering and Surveying of Coeur d’Alene is gaining an international touch with its purchase by Hans van der Meer, a native of the Netherlands. Van der Meer has worked in several places around the world and was seeking a business in the Inland Northwest.

He and his family have moved to Cougar Gulch near Coeur d’Alene. He was educated in the Netherlands and at Oxford University in England.

Founded in 1968 by Frederick Meckel, the engineering company has 16 employees at its 402 Idaho Ave. location. Former owner James Meckel will remain as vice president and will supervise the technical side of the business. His wife Janis will continue as office manager during the transition.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Nils Rosdahl The Spokesman-Review

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