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The Dirt: Old Elks building hosts robotics, AI firms in CdA

The original bar at the old Elks Building in Coeur d’Alene on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
The original bar at the old Elks Building in Coeur d’Alene on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

A workplace focused on the “new economy” opened its doors earlier this month in downtown Coeur d’Alene, and it’s already filled to capacity.

The Innovation Den, 418 E. Lakeside Ave., is in the 110-year-old Elks Club. Most of the companies in the building are focused on technology, robotics and artificial intelligence. The University of Idaho’s computer science and robotics department is in the building’s basement. An unmanned aerial vehicle company, xCraft, also leases space.

In all, the 34,000-square-foot building has 52 offices and six large suites, which range from 1,200 to 4,000 square feet. The building has an additional 5,000 square feet of co-working space, a communal office space for people not typically employed by the same organization.

Nick Smoot, who owns the building with Cody Peterson and Rich Thrasher, said there is no space available to lease other than co-working space, which leases for $250 a month with 24-hour access to the building.

The building’s retail tenants are the Coeur d’Alene Coffee Company, a coffee shop, and Mavericks Men’s Hair, a barber shop.

Smoot would not share how much renovations cost, but previous reporting said $1.2 million was spent.

The building also has a private club and cigar room in the basement, and a nearly 250-square-foot laser projection screen, which can be used for presentations by the building’s occupants.

“So far, ‘Game of Thrones’ is the primary use,” Smoot said of the screen. “For the owners.”

Smoot and Peterson did the design work for the project, but hired HDG Architecture, of Spokane, for additional work.

Coeur d’Alene-based Ginno Construction was the contractor.

UPS expands logistics operation

The UPS sorting facility in Spokane Valley is getting an upgrade. According to Spokane Valley permit records, the logistics site next to Interstate 90 will get a new $1.4 million sorting facility and a $61,000 premanufactured guard house.

Kim Krebs, a spokeswoman with the company, said the permit is for a temporary modular distribution center village that will add processing capacity in anticipation of the holiday season. The facility will create 45 spots for UPS truck loading.

The shipping company employs more than 6,000 people in Washington state, with more than half in the Seattle area, where the company was founded 110 years ago by James Casey and Claude Ryan in the basement of a tavern.

The nearly 20-acre site at 1016 N. Bradley Road is valued at $4.2 million, according to the county tax assessor.

U.S. Modular Inc. is the contractor for the project.

Exploratory Carlyle plans filed

Owners of the Carlyle Care Center, 206 S. Post St., have filed plans with the city for a $1 million renovation, but a spokeswoman for the nonprofit that runs the facility said plans are in flux.

Hilary Young, with Pioneer Health Services, the Seattle-based nonprofit that operates Carlyle, called the plans “potential ideas.”

“I would say at this point it’s exploratory,” Young said. “We went to the extreme of what we wanted to do.”

Those plans show new kitchens in each of the building’s 74 units; laundry facilities would be added to each of the seven floors. The units’ interiors would be rehabbed, with new paint, floors and cabinets, and the main lobby reconfigured.

The former hotel is an assisted-living facility for people with severe mental illnesses and complex medical problems. Pioneer Human Services plans to make it an independent-living facility for people who have trouble finding housing because of criminal convictions.

Young said all the assisted-living residents will be out of the building by the end of October, but she could not say when renovation work would begin.

ZBA Architecture, of Spokane, designed the plans.

New psychiatric hospital permit

Ground was broken in the fall and initial construction commenced in the spring, but work is about to get underway in earnest on a $30 million psychiatric hospital at Fifth Avenue and Browne Street now that the city of Spokane has issued permits.

The 100-bed hospital will have three stories and 66,193 square feet.

The facility, providing inpatient and outpatient care, will serve pediatric and adult patients needing emergency and short-term hospital care for mental illness. It’s a joint venture of Providence Health Care and Universal Health Services/Fairfax Behavior Health.

Bouten Construction, of Spokane, is the contractor.


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