December 6, 2012 | Vol. 116 -- No. 33

Handling the paper trail

Cheney doing environmental reviews on three buildings to help better market Commerce and Industrial Park

The city of Cheney is taking comments on environmental reviews of three buildings proposed for construction in its Commerce and Industrial Park – buildings that only exist on paper, at least for now.

The reviews are part of new city efforts to find tenants for the four-year-old development located near its southern city limits. So far the only two tenants in the park are packaging manufacturer AllPak Trojan and the Cheney Free Press, both of who were already there before ground was broken on park construction in 2008.

City officials had considered building several spec buildings and leasing them to prospective customers who might be leery or unable to afford new construction. With finances tight, the city recently decided to go a different route and pursue completion of a paper trail that can add weeks, and sometimes months to a building’s perspective construction, the intent being to make the park more marketable and attractive to potential customers.

Three different sized office and manufacturing type buildings are being reviewed: 6,000, 25,000 and 50,000 square feet to be constructed on 0.65, 2.65 and 6.1 acre lots. The proposals include extending and installing all needed infrastructure such as utilities and paved parking along with storm water disposal areas and landscaping – all conforming with city of Cheney standards.

Cheney planner Brett Lucas said the 6,000 square foot structure is consistent with some existing spec buildings in the area while the other two were factors of what exists in the park.

“Those seemed to be sizes that would be consistent with the parcels that we’ve created and the land area that’s out there,” he said.

Many of the checklist items were researched by the city when it was applying for the federal grant to build the park, Lucas added, so there shouldn’t be too many surprises. As far as doing environmental reviews such as these, referred to as independent site certification, without any specific customer is an approach city officials have said is common in many areas. It’s cheaper than erecting spec buildings since the only costs associated are generally those dealing with staff time.

Agency and public comment is open until Dec. 12, after which the city will compile the comments and note any considerations. If everything goes to plan the city expects to issue a mitigated determination of non-significance by the beginning of 2013.

“By January we’ll have three more things related to the park that we can market,” Lucas said.

John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com.

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