Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, June 05, 2008

"First bid opened for stateline mall"

August 2009 opening for Lowe's and the Stateline Retail Center with Wal-Mart to follow likely in early 2010.

From today's Whitman County Gazette:
The first bid on prep work at the site of Hawkins Companies’ 714,000 square foot stripmall at the Idaho state line, just west of Moscow, was opened by Whitman County commissioners Monday afternoon.

H2O Well Service Inc., of Hayden, Idaho, submitted the lone bid for drilling wells to provide the development with water. The company quoted a price of $387,314.

Hawkins in March cut a deal with Moscow officials in which the city would provide water for use at the development.

The Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) ruled in April that the city could not sell water across state lines to a private company.

County commissioners then agreed to take Moscow’s water and sell it to Hawkins. That deal is still awaiting approval from IDWR.

Hawkins’ water engineer, Alan Gay of USKH Engineering in Spokane, said he hopes to begin pumping water from multiple wells at the site by August of this year.

The company will later call for bids for installing booster stations, well controls and a 720,000-gallon reservoir this fall.

Gay said ideally infrastructure will be in place and the building for the first tenant, likely a Lowe’s Home Improvement store, is expected to be built by August, 2009.

Commissioners will open bids on all work at the site during open session, though Hawkins will be administering the projects and sending out bid calls.

“This really is just a courtesy bid opening,” said Commissioner Greg Partch. “We’re trying to facilitate the appearance of fairness.”

That process was part of the official development agreement between the county and Hawkins, signed by commissioners May 28.

The agreement finalizes a preliminary commitment to issue $9.1 million in bonds to cover construction costs, agreed to by commissioners in February.

In exchange for the public funds Hawkins will build the roads and water and sewage systems, and those improvements will later be turned over to the county.

Also included in the agreement is a guarantee by Hawkins CEO Gary J. Hawkins that he will personally cover any gap in anticipated tax revenues that will be used to pay off the bonds.

As of Tuesday night, Hawkins had not yet returned a signed copy of the agreement.

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