Spokane’s South Regal Lumber Yard, a South Hill fixture for builders and do-it-yourselfers for decades, will relocate later this year.
The company’s owners recently sold the land under the store, at 5415 S. Regal St., to developer Cyrus Vaughn.
The retail lumber company bought property previously owned by Vaughn in the 3200 block of East 57th Avenue and plan to open a smaller store there, South Regal Lumber manager Scott Case said.
That new site includes plans for Spokane’s first drive-through lumber warehouse.
The plan envisions a narrow, covered warehouse 30 feet wide by 275 feet long, with two lanes for customers to drive through, Case said.
His grandfather, Cliff Case, started the business in 1949 as Lincoln Heights Building Supply. After a fire destroyed the first store, the business opened in its current site in 1972.
The three children of Cliff Case own the business and the South Regal property.
Those owners, brothers John and Harry Case and their sister, Linda Patterson, agreed to sell the land because they could move the lumber business to a smaller parcel to cut operating costs, Scott Case said.
A second motive to relocate the lumber yard was the potential for lease income from two commercial buildings on the site on East 57th Avenue, Case said. Those two commercial buildings are known as the Moran Prairie Shopping Center.
Case said South Regal Lumber will gradually sell off much of its inventory and will hand over the building to the new owner by the end of March. Unsold merchandise will be moved to its second location, a West Plains lumber supply store on Geiger Road, until the new store opens.
Case said he hopes to have the new store open by this summer.
“I may or may not change the name, since we won’t be on South Regal,” he said. “I just want people to know we’ll stay in business and remain committed to our Spokane customers.”
Vaughn, who bought the lumber yard and a second residential property nearby on South Regal, formerly owned and operated downtown restaurant Cyrus O’Leary’s.
Guy Byrd, of Cornerstone Property Advisors, said Vaughn plans to develop the Regal property into a mixed-use project. Byrd handled the transaction for Vaughn and will manage the property development.
Byrd said the timeline for construction for new buildings on the South Regal site will depend on the types of tenants who choose to move into that development.
In effect Vaughn traded his 57th Avenue parcel for the property owned by the Case family, Byrd said. The family took out a loan to cover the difference; the lumber yard sale closed for $2.8 million while Vaughn’s parcel on 57th was sold to the family for $3.4 million.
Scott Case said the 57th property has one long narrow strip that gave him the idea for the drive-through warehouse.
“We haven’t seen that here in Spokane yet, but I believe we can make it work here,” he said. The idea of letting drivers move through the warehouse is part of an “anti-big-box” approach, he said.
Big-box shoppers typically haul a cart with materials around the store and then wait in lines to leave.
The drive-through will let customers give their order as they drive into the warehouse, then have the materials loaded by employees into the vehicle as they drive out.
Near that warehouse the company will build a showroom and retail office for customers who prefer a traditional retail experience, Case said.
The new store and warehouse on 57th should have about nine employees, down from 11 currently at the South Regal store.
Byrd said Vaughn should have no trouble finding tenants to lease new spaces in his new South Regal development. With most if not all of 29th Avenue fully developed, Byrd and Vaughn see South Regal as the next likely growth corridor for South Hill businesses.
Byrd said demoition and site work on the lumber yard property will start in the spring.
In addition, the work on the new Target store at 46th and Regal is propelling interest in that side of town, Byrd added. “The Dave Black project (Target) is really getting attention. Once you get a store like Target to move in, other companies take notice,” he said.