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Airport deal falls through

A tentative agreement that would have created an 80-acre business park near Spokane International Airport has fallen through.

Local developer Walt Worthy said his company, Worthy Enterprises LLC, declined to move forward with the recently announced project for a variety of reasons.

Although he didn’t go into detail about any specific problems, he explained the overall development “just didn’t pencil” and “the risk outweighed the reward.”

Worthy had hoped to create 300,000-square feet of mixed use space in the first phase and to continue on, while working with and around problematic soils and large basalt rock. The developer would have leased the land from the airport.

The airport board of directors announced that the business park wouldn’t go forward with Worthy Enterprises late Friday afternoon.

“I think it’s a combination of a lot of things,” said Neal Sealock, airport director.

“We work with a great deal of rules and regulations, local, state and federal that, in turn, makes it challenging.”

The agreement would have allowed the airport to lease the property to Worthy, who would develop the park. It was awaiting the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval, but also had a 180-day window for the developer to withdraw, Sealock said.

During an interview earlier this week, Worthy said his company was doing extensive testing on the site. At the time, he said, tests had determined that the geology consisted of silt and clay soils, which have problematic drainage, as well as basalt rock.

Although Worthy wasn’t sure what portion of the land would be friendly to development, he had said some of the large rocks might have required blasting with dynamite. On Friday, the developer said that although the site was desirable and able to support construction “it just didn’t make good fiscal sense” for him.

Both sides said there were no hard feelings.

The airport will entertain offers from other developers, Sealock said, adding, “If somebody has a different idea we would welcome it.”