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

The Spokane Valley city council just took another step with the city’s mysterious, Amazon-like facility

An unnamed company recently applied for a building permit valued at $101 million for a distribution facility listed as “Project Fireball-GEG2” in Spokane Valley.
By Amy Edelen and Rebecca White The Spokesman-Review

The Spokane Valley City Council unanimously voted to enter a licensing agreement with a company that’s linked to multiple Amazon projects to redo a portion of Garland Avenue.

Spokane Valley’s license agreement sheds more light on the unnamed company behind plans to build a massive Amazon-like distribution facility in the city’s northeast industrial area. But city staff did not say what would be built beside the relocated road, and city documents also do not include details on what the vacated space will be used for.

The city on Tuesday voted to start a street “vacationing” process, entering into a licensing agreement with Panattoni Development Co. Inc. to replace the road to make way for development where it currently stands. A hearing for the street vacation, the next step in its approval, is Nov. 17.

Panattoni has developed multiple Amazon projects nationwide, including a fulfillment center expected to open later this year in Nampa, Idaho, and a proposed distribution center in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. The firm was also announced as developer of a “last mile” Amazon fulfillment center in Bremerton. Amazon’s “last mile” facilities receive packages from the company’s larger warehouses and deliver them to customers.

Panattoni’s other clients include FedEx, The Home Depot and DHL, among others.

According to the licensing agreement, the company would move the road and can develop in the area where it was located. The devlopers are required to build a new road, or replace the road they demolished if their project does not go forward. They are required to have a road completed, either in the old location or a new location, by May 15.

The areas that will be vacated are on Garland Avenue between Tschirley Road and Greenacres Road.

During the City Council meeting Tuesday, Deputy City Manager John Hohman said the licensing agreement allows the company to use the vacated area in “any ways they see fit” and fits into the city’s long-term development goals.

Garland Avenue was completed this spring in partnership between Centennial Properties and the city. It is meant to be a detour for when the Barker Grade Separation Project is underway, and as a means to spur economic development in the area.

Only City Council member Linda Thompson commented on the council’s decision, saying she felt reassured that the city wouldn’t end up bearing any of the costs of the project because Panattoni agreed to pay for the relocated road whether the company’s project moved forward or not.

Irvine, California-based Panattoni Development Co. Inc. was listed in city documents as developer of the 1.3 million-square-foot project at 17205 E. Garland Ave.

Panattoni Development Co. Inc. is an international real estate firm specializing in industrial, office and built-to-suit development with 28 offices in the U.S., Europe and Canada.

Last week, Spokane Valley approved a grading permit for the distribution facility, which was listed as “Project Fireball-GEG2,” creating speculation that Amazon could be behind the project as the Seattle-based e-commerce giant is known to use code names in early design phases of its fulfillment centers.

Amazon’s fulfillment center on the West Plains – known as GEG1 – was listed as “Project Rose” in its initial building permit application with Spokane County.

Project Fireball will be built on land owned by Centennial Properties, a subsidiary of the Cowles Co., which also publishes The Spokesman-Review.

Amazon declined to comment last week on whether it’s considering a distribution facility in Spokane Valley.

“We are constantly exploring new locations and weighing a variety of factors when deciding where to develop sites to best serve customers, however, we don’t provide information on our future roadmap,” spokeswoman Anne Laughlin said in an email last week.

The hearing for the street vacation is scheduled for Nov 17. at 6 p.m. and will likely be held over Zoom, or in person at City Hall if in-person government meetings are allowed next month. Public meeting notices and links to attend online meetings are posted on the city’s website.