Hawkins represents all that they despise: "sprawl," big boxes, chain stores, automobile-based development, crass consumerism, and most of all, capitalism and free enterprise. But the leftists in both Pullman and Moscow were infected with Wal-Mart Derangement Syndrome and Hawkins slipped in under the radar. Queen Nancy's single-handed efforts to stop Hawkins were easily undone by a single election.
Now, a shopping devleopment three times the size of a Wal-Mart Supercenter is going in and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it. What a great feeling! I only hope I can be there for the groundbreaking.
From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Hawkins Companies officials expect to begin moving dirt for its 714,000-square-foot retail development just west of the Idaho border by the start of summer.
"The target is June 1, but if the land dries out it will be before that," company spokesman Jeff DeVoe said. "We've got two years of moving dirt ahead, so we've got to get moving."
A ground-breaking ceremony will take place once construction equipment has arrived on site, but an exact date has not been set, DeVoe said.
Several national retail chains have expressed interest in locating at the shopping center, even in the face of a struggling national economy. However, only one tenant - Lowe's - has formally committed to date.
DeVoe said the company expects the Lowe's store to be open in late summer or early fall 2009.
DeVoe said Hawkins doesn't anticipate any issues arising that could derail the project, considering water has been secured and a deal has been reached with Whitman County to finance public infrastructure for the development.
"At this point I don't think so," DeVoe said. "We are sitting ready to go."
Whitman County Commissioner Michael Largent expressed appreciation for Hawkins and its commitment to locating in the county.
"I am very pleased. This is a culmination of a long process," Largent said. "The Hawkins group and Jeff DeVoe worked very hard to bring this project ahead.
"We are very happy to see the project proceeding."
The county will benefit directly from the development in the form of increased sales and property taxes, and indirectly from other developers planning to follow in Hawkins' footsteps. Largent said Moscow business owner Travis Wambeke - who plans to develop a 15-acre business park on Airport Road - indicated his decision to locate in the Moscow-Pullman corridor was influenced by Hawkins.
"I don't think Hawkins is the end of the story," Largent said. "We are excited about the economic development and other opportunities this will bring."