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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Dirt: Emerald Initiative, McKinstry break ground on manufacturing facility on the West Plains

Seattle-based Emerald Initiative and McKinstry recently broke ground on a fabrication and manufacturing facility on the West Plains.

The two companies are building the 68,000-square-foot fabrication facility on 5 acres at 9470 W. 21st Ave. in Airway Heights.

The facility, when complete, will produce prefabricated sheet metal, piping, and plumbing materials and systems by union professionals, according to a company release. It also will house an Overcast Innovations manufacturing plant. Overcast Innovations is a Seattle-based startup that makes ceiling appliances that are shipped to construction sites.

“This new shop has been years in the making,” Allie Teplicky, principal at Emerald Initiative, said in a statement. “This space will not only allow McKinstry to increase productivity and capacity but is specifically designed to address the climate, affordability, and equity crises that we are working to eliminate in the built environment.”

The facility also will include flexible space for multitrade assemblies, a staging area, break room that doubles as a training room, and a separate area leased by Overcast Innovations to manufacture Cloud systems. The facility will include electric vehicle infrastructure for the company’s fleet vehicles, according to the company.

McKinstry indicated the facility allows it to triple its current prefabrication capabilities.

Seattle-based McKinstry, which has an office in Spokane, is a design and build firm specializing in consulting, construction, energy and facility services. McKinstry partnered with Avista Corp., Katerra and Eastern Washington University to develop the Catalyst Building in the University District. The Catalyst Building is one of the largest zero-energy buildings in the country.

McKinstry’s current fabrication services span four fully operating prefabrication facilities totaling about 200,000 square feet in the Pacific Northwest.

Emerald Initiative develops, owns and operates commercial real estate and alternative energy infrastructure.

The facility is slated to be operational in late 2023, according to the company release.

Mercer International to expand mass timber facility

Mercer International Inc. is planning an expansion to its cross-laminated timber production facility in Spokane Valley.

Spokane-based Press Architecture LLC filed a pre-development application with the city on behalf of Mercer International to build an 11,200-square-foot addition to the company’s existing plant that spans more than 250,000 square feet at 19202 E. Garland Ave.

About 10,000 square feet of the addition will be dedicated to a new planer mill, which will include cross-laminated timber wall and roof panels, on the south end of Mercer International’s plant. About 1,200 square feet will accommodate trim line equipment on the west side of the facility, according to the application.

Mercer International is a publicly traded forest products company with offices in the U.S., Canada and Germany. The company, headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, purchased the former Katerra plant for $50 million in 2021.

The facility, located on 54 acres in Spokane Valley’s northeast industrial area, is equipped with state-of-the-art automation technologies and is capable of producing more than 140,000 cubic meters of cross-laminated timber per year.

Cross-laminated timber is made by compressing and gluing together lumber boards to form structural panels and beams. The building material is growing in popularity nationwide because of its low-carbon footprint, fire resistance and ease of installation.

In July, Mercer International submitted a separate pre-development application with the city to build a three-story, 1,800-square-foot, cross-laminated timber prototype near its manufacturing plant.

The prototype, which is in the conceptual phase, is “meant to test the assembly of volumetric cross-laminated timber construction and to work with building and fire officials on the unique construction type for future development,” according to the application.

The application indicates the prototype will be temporary and not connected to utilities. Plans for the proposed prototype have not advanced past a pre-development conference with the city.

Cookie Co. franchise to open near Gonzaga

A Redlands, California-based cookie franchise is expanding to Spokane with a location near Gonzaga University.

Adam Le, of Coeur d’Alene, submitted a building permit application with the city to renovate a 2,100-square-foot ground floor retail space into the Cookie Co. in the Matilda Building at 1028 N. Hamilton St.

Greg Ward Contracting Services LLC, of Liberty Lake, is the project contractor. Sandpoint, Idaho-based Back to Terra Sustainable Architecture is designing the retail space.

The permit valuation is $90,000, according to the application.

Cookie Co. was founded by Elise and Matt Thomas in 2020. Elise Thomas baked her signature cookie recipes using eggs, butter and cane sugar in her home, preparing hundreds of boxes weekly for pickup during the pandemic. The couple opened Cookie Co.’s flagship bakery in Redlands later that year.

Cookie Co. offers chocolate chip, lemon blueberry, mud pie and snickerdoodle cookies. In addition to the company’s Redlands bakery, it has three locations in California and one in Georgetown, Texas.

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