The first of 44 concrete panels were tilted into position Tuesday for the new Spokesman-Review printing plant on East Euclid Avenue in Spokane Valley.
The 65,000-square-foot plant, being built to house the newspaper’s printing press and provide warehouse space, could be in operation by March 1, according to Rick Sant, The Spokesman-Review director of operations. Cowles Real Estate Co., a subsidiary of Cowles Co., will own the building. The Spokesman-Review is also a subsidiary of Cowles Co.
The newspaper announced in February that it was building a new printing facility with new presses. The move involves the purchase of smaller, more versatile printing presses to expand the newspaper’s revenue from outside printing contracts. Company officials said the modern presses also will substantially increase the print quality of the daily paper.
With the newspaper industry’s continuing economic challenges, as well as rapid consolidation through national chains and hedge-fund investors, The Spokesman-Review’s doubling down on its print product is a rarity in the nation. Many newspapers are shutting down their presses, and outsourcing printing more than 100 miles away, moving deadlines up hours earlier.
The only other news organization in the nation known to be building a new press facility in 2019 is the family-owned LNP Media Group, publishers of the daily newspaper in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
The Spokesman-Review’s current printing operation is housed at the corner of Riverside Avenue and Monroe Street. Once the new presses are operational, the space will be cleared for a new tenant, Dry Fly Distillery, a local producer of gin, whiskey and vodka that was founded in 2007. The distiller was going to be one of the main tenants in a 5-acre mixed-use business center on a former city fleet and street maintenance operations center south of Mission Avenue, near North Central High School, but the deal fell through.
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