Thursday, October 04, 2007


Connecting with the Community

Being a regional comprehensive university, we talk a lot about connecting with the community, and having the community connect with Eastern.
Here's an article about a new industrial park that will draw on EWU's plentiful pool of students.

start something big.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Industrial park inches ahead

Cheney may use grant to buy land

Parker Howell, Spokesman Review
Staff writer
October 4, 2007

After years of planning, Cheney may be closer to realizing a long-awaited industrial park.

The city wants to use a new $1.48 million federal grant and work with a box manufacturer there to create a 38-acre research and industrial park on the southwest end of town that officials envision attracting new jobs and tax revenues.

City plans call for using the money to install infrastructure, including fiber-optic cable, sewer and roads. Cheney also would buy 21 acres from AE Cheney Building LLC, an organization held by corporate officers of corrugated box maker Allpak Container East LLC, which would work with the city to develop the Cheney Research and Industrial Park.

The company, a subsidiary of Renton, Wash.-based Allpak Container Inc., bought the 38-acre parcel and 113,000-square-foot former Honeywell Corp. building in December, prompting the city of Cheney to change prior plans to buy the building with grant money and subdivide it for smaller manufacturers.

The building, at 1500 W. First St., had sat empty since early 2005. Honeywell decided to restructure and put it up for sale, stinging the city of 10,130. The Economic Development Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, announced the grant last month.

The project could create an estimated 400 new jobs and prompt $64 million in private investment, according to the EDA.

A public development authority would be formed to market and manage the park land, which would be divided for sale to companies, said Don MacDonald, Cheney's public works director.

"Right now, they don't have a lot of commercial, industrial property out there," said Robin Toth, business development director for Greater Spokane Inc. "This is actually the ideal model that we like to see cities investing in."

"It's going to make it easier for us to promote this area."

Total infrastructure costs are estimated at about $1.85 million, and the city and AE Cheney Building will split the amount not covered by the grant, according to the city.

Construction could start in the spring.

Cheney expects to pay $315,000 for its share of the light-industrial-zoned land under a purchase agreement that could be signed in coming weeks, MacDonald said. The City Council still must sign off on the deal.

The goal will be to attract small to midsize manufacturers, said Terry Piger, general manager of Allpak's Cheney plant.

"It's going to be a good thing for everybody," he said.

The Cheney project qualified for the grant because the city has high unemployment and low income levels, said Joe Tortorelli, a consultant for the city.

He said a number of technology clients are already interested in the park, though he declined to give specifics.

The park would access Eastern Washington University's labor pool of students, Tortorelli said.

While MacDonald said the project could bring property and utility taxes to the city, he remains guarded about its potential.

"We're going into this with our eyes wide open," MacDonald said.

"There's no guarantee that (you) build it and they will come."

Allpak Container East's Cheney plant was fully operational by February, Piger said.

The company, which employs 24 there, had outgrown its plant on East Trent Avenue, where it operated since April 2005, when it bought the assets of Lincoln Container & Packaging Inc., Piger said.

The EDA has spent more than $12 million on regional projects since the 1970s, Toth said.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?