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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

With proposed commerce park, developer hopes to give economic boost to Hillyard Neighborhood

Spokane developer Larry Stone is aiming to replicate the success of the Playfair Commerce Park with plans to build a second industrial park in northeast Spokane.

The Esmeralda Commerce Park – to be located on 22 acres just west of the Esmeralda Golf Course in the Hillyard Neighborhood – will feature five buildings with a combined 400,000 square feet of industrial space.

The design will be “aesthetically similar” to the 58-acre Playfair Commerce Park, which is on the site of a former horse racing track purchased in 2009 by Stone, who is president and chief executive officer of SCAFCO Corp., a silo and steel stud manufacturing company.

“At Playfair, we have been able to build speculative buildings,” said Nick Czapla, chief operating officer at LB Stone Properties Group LLC. “What we’ve done there, it’s really a great example of how it will look and feel at the Esmeralda Commerce Park.”

LB Stone Properties Group LLC purchased the site for the Esmeralda Commerce Park from property owner Patrick Kofmehl because Playfair is maxing out its space and vacant industrial land is limited in Spokane, Czapla said.

Out of the 450,000 square feet of space and eight buildings at Playfair, about 65,000 square feet are available to lease. Plans also are underway to build three additional buildings at the site totaling 232,000 square feet, which will be available for lease next year, Czapla said.

“We’re at a point where Playfair is going to be built out and we want to continue constructing buildings,” Czapla said. “We’re looking forward to this new project.”

The company plans to build streets and add landscaping to the Esmeralda site.

“We have streetscapes (at Playfair) that exceed beyond city code. We’ve got more at our park than the city requires,” Czapla said. “It’s been very beneficial and a great environment for tenants. It’s a beautiful site.”

Czapla said the site of Esmeralda Commerce Park is unique because it’s in a highly populated section of Spokane and is adjacent to the future North Spokane Corridor.

“It’s important for distribution companies and wholesalers to have freeway access. Our site will have that,” he said. “That area up there needs an economic boost and it’s kind of a focus for the city as well.”

The company aims to attract a wide variety of aerospace, manufacturing and wholesale companies to the proposed industrial park.

The development could bring “possibly as many as 1,000 jobs, depending on the type of company,” Czapla said.

The increase in Spokane’s industrial development comes in response to market demand, said Todd Mielke, chief executive officer of Greater Spokane Incorporated.

Businesses looking to relocate or expand in Spokane often want buildings they can lease right away, he added.

Spokane has about a 2 percent vacancy rate for the industrial market – down from 4 percent in 2017, according to a commercial real estate market report by NAI Black.

Mielke said industrial park development in north Spokane is good for the area.

“We have some of the lowest industrial rates for vacant properties for a long time,” Mielke said. “The Spokane Industrial Park has an extremely low vacancy rate and doesn’t really have plans to do anything immediately to expand the park. In northeast Spokane, there’s a fair amount of available land and it provides some pretty good opportunity.”

Construction on the Esmeralda Commerce Park is expected to begin in 2020.