The Dirt: Emerald Initiative, McKinstry Opens West Plains Manufacturing Facility


Seattle-based Emerald Initiative and McKinstry recently opened a manufacturing and manufacturing facility in the West Plains.

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

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

“This new boutique has taken years to build,” Allie Teplicky, director of the 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, accessibility and equity crises we are working to eliminate in the built environment.”

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

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

Seattle-based McKinstry, with an office in Spokane, is a design and construction firm specializing in consulting, construction, energy and facilities services. McKinstry has 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 nation’s largest zero-energy buildings.

McKinstry’s current manufacturing services span four fully operational precast facilities totaling approximately 200,000 square feet in the Pacific Northwest.

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

The facility is expected to be operational by the end of 2023, according to the company’s statement.

Mercer International to expand its solid wood plant

Mercer International Inc. plans to expand its cross-laminated timber production plant in the Spokane Valley.

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

Approximately 10,000 square feet of the addition will be dedicated to a new planing mill, which will feature cross-laminated timber walls and roof panels, at the south end of Mercer International’s mill. Depending on demand, approximately 1,200 square feet will accommodate the cut line equipment on the west side of the facility.

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

The facility, located on 54 acres in the Northeast Spokane Valley Industrial Area, is equipped with state-of-the-art automation technology and is capable of producing more than 140,000 cubic meters of cross-laminated timber annually.

Cross-laminated timber is made by compressing and gluing together planks of wood to form structural panels and beams. The building material is gaining popularity nationwide due to its low carbon footprint, fire resistance and ease of installation.

In July, Mercer International submitted a separate pre-development request to 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 “intended to test the assembly of a volumetric cross-laminated timber construction and to work with building officials and firefighters on the unique construction type for future development”, according to demand.

The app says the prototype will be temporary and not connected to utilities. Plans for the proposed prototype did not go past a pre-development conference with the city.

Opening of the Cookie Co. franchise near Gonzaga

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

Adam Le, of Coeur d’Alene, applied for a building permit with the city to renovate a 2,100 square foot ground floor retail space in 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 value of the permit is $90,000, depending on the application.

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

Cookie Co. offers chocolate chip, lemon blueberry, mud 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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