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Worthy plans Valley edifice

Thu., Jan. 24, 2008

The square feet are back.

After an aborted look last fall to build a business park near Spokane International Airport, Spokane developer Walt Worthy plans to build a high-end, five-story office building east of Spokane Valley Mall overlooking the Spokane River.

The roughly 250,000-square-foot River View Corporate Center, on which construction is expected to begin in May, would be a return to commercial office space for Worthy’s company, Worthy Enterprises LLC. The well-known slogan “Walt Worthy has square feet” has reappeared on a Web site for the center and on a banner attached to the Davenport Tower, which offers penthouse office space.

Worthy, known for building the Rock Pointe office complex in Spokane and refurbishing the Davenport Hotel, divested from office space in 2006 with the sale of the Wells Fargo tower downtown.

The company envisions the River View center, 16201 E. Indiana Ave., offering conference facilities, a workout room, access to the Centennial Trail and river views from the upper floors.

“There’s nothing really that nice out there, as far as nice, class A” office space, said Jack Marr, director of leasing.

The developer will finish the lobby, some corridors and the building’s shell, but future tenants will handle further improvements, said Shawn O’Kert, construction manager for Worthy Enterprises.

“Walt uses a lot of marbles and granites and nice water features. We use 8-foot doors,” O’Kert said. “You walk through just about every office building, and the lobbies are as small as you can be. … Walt does nice, big lobbies a couple stories high,” with large staircases and glass handrails. “He really just doesn’t skimp on the finishes, from the carpet to the doors and crown molds.”

Worthy Enterprises doesn’t have an estimated cost for the project, Worthy said. “We don’t ever do budgets, we just build it,” he said.

In October, about 12.5 percent of 2.1 million feet in usable suburban office space was vacant across 85 buildings in Spokane County east of Hamilton Street, including Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake, according to data from the fall issue of Real Estate Report. Average yearly rent was $13.79 per square foot.

The company, which also is the general contractor, hopes to complete the center before Thanksgiving, O’Kert said. Crews will need to move “beach ball-size boulders” to make way for construction, he said.

The roughly 10-acre parcel, a few blocks east of the mall and across the street from Hooters, is owned by Hanson Industries Inc., Marr said. Sale terms haven’t been finalized, O’Kert, said.

River View also would offer quick access to Interstate 90 and 1,270 parking spaces, including some in a one-story parking structure on its north side.

The building could accommodate business from banks to doctors’ offices, company representatives said.

“The unique thing about that is the floor plates are roughly 50,000 square feet, which is extremely rare. You just don’t find that,” O’Kert said. “So we’re going to try to look for some of the bigger tenants who need that.”

The potential 80-acre complex near the airport fell through in early September because it “just didn’t pencil,” Worthy said at the time.

Worthy sold the 182,000-square-foot Wells Fargo tower to Tacoma, Wash.-based Prium Companies for $25.7 million in September 2006. Prium bought his Rock Pointe office complex in November 2005 for $82.8 million.


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