March 11, 2011 in Business

STCU home office getting a makeover

Project expected to finish next March
By The Spokesman-Review
J. Bart Rayniak photoBuy this photo

Drywallers Laurel Tobler, left, and Nate Tilson of Allwall, in Post Falls, negotiate an aerial scissor lift down one of the new hallways under construction at the Spokane Teachers Credit Union campus in Liberty Lake.
(Full-size photo)

Big changes are under way at Spokane Teachers Credit Union, but its 94,000 members aren’t likely to notice.

STCU has begun a major remodel of its headquarters in Liberty Lake. The multi-million-dollar project is expected to be completed in March 2012.

The third-largest Washington-based credit union, STCU is improving and expanding into unused portions of its 115,000-square-foot offices at 1620 N. Signal Dr. About half of the building has been unoccupied, project manager Kyle Blacketer said.

STCU bought the one-story building for $7.5 million in 1998. At that time Egghead Software and Software Spectrum occupied the building, which previously was used by Hewlett-Packard.

About 190 of STCU’s 442 employees work at the headquarters, used for back-office operations and administrative functions.

The project will make more efficient use of space and improve energy efficiency with new heating and cooling systems, new windows and doors, and a new roof and insulation. Also, staff amenities such as an improved cafeteria and a courtyard will be added.

The public will notice better landscaping and reconfiguring of some parking areas.

EHS Design in Seattle and Contractors Northwest Inc. of Coeur d’Alene are working on the project.

STCU also is nearing completion of a three-year project to replace its core computing system. The old one has been in use since 1985.

Founded by educators in 1934, STCU is a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative with 14 branches in Eastern Washington and North Idaho and more than $1.4 billion in total assets.

The credit union operated out of a second-story classroom at Lewis & Clark High School until 1964, when it opened its main branch.

Ace Hardware opening on South Hill

Ace Hardware will open a new South Hill location this summer, taking the former spot of Jones Pharmacy, at 906 S. Monroe St. It’s near the Huckleberry’s Natural Market.

This will be the first Ace store in Spokane opened by franchisee Mitchell Hardware Inc. The company has four other Ace Hardwares in the Northwest.

Extensive remodeling is being done to the 15,660 square-foot space; an outdoor garden center will be added on the north side of the building.

Eric and David Peterson, of Goodale & Barbieri Co., negotiated a long-term lease with Mitchell on behalf of the LLC that owns the property. Rolland Jones, of Kidder Matthews, represented Mitchell Hardware.

The owner is also remodeling 2,200 feet on the second level. David Peterson said further work will be done on that level if a tenant is found. Work will also be done to remodel the facades of other tenants in the shopping area, said David Peterson.

Do It Best Hardware coming to Cheney

A new hardware store will open in Cheney this spring.

Cheney Do It Best Hardware is under construction at 2664 First St., in Cheney Plaza Shopping Center.

The contractor is Vandervert Construction of Spokane, and the developer is Sierra Development LLC of Spokane. The owner is D. Tepper Enterprises of Champaign, Ill.

The 7,050-square-foot building will cost about $680,000, according to a building permit.

There are more than 4,100 independently owned Do It Best hardware stores in the U.S.

Big R coming to Ponderay

North Idaho residents will no longer have to visit Spokane to shop at a Big R store. The Northwest-based retailer of farm and ranch items, sporting goods and lawn and garden products, will open its first Idaho store in Ponderay, just outside of Sandpoint.

The 86,000-square-foot building will take over a former Kmart at 477181 U.S. 95.

It’s due to open on June 1, and will have about 70 employees.

Reporter Tom Sowa contributed to this report. Here’s the Dirt is a weekly report on development and business changes in the Inland Northwest. E-mail or call (509) 459-5528.

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