By Kevin Blocker and Mike McLean, Spokane Journal of Business
Spokane-based general contractor Vandervert Construction Inc. is facing a financial crisis, and control of the company has been placed under receivership.
Law firm Davidson, Backman, Medeiros PLLC of Spokane was appointed to serve as the general receiver for Vandervert Construction to help the company pay off as much of its mounting debt as possible, according to a notice filed Feb. 2 in Spokane County Superior Court.
The purpose of a receivership is to preserve property of a person or entity pending distribution of receipts to creditors.
The company has done millions of dollars in business in the Tri-Cities. Recently completed projects include Panera Bread in Richland, Fred Meyer’s $12.4 million remodel in Richland and West Richland’s Roasters Coffee.
Projects under construction or pending in the Tri-Cities include renovation of the $3.2 million Columbia Community Church in Richland, a new $4.95 million Gensco warehouse in Kennewick and an $1.2 million Hallett Retail Center in Pasco.
Vandervert Construction’s corporate office is at 608 E. Holland, on Spokane’s North Side. At midmorning Feb. 5, the office’s doors were locked and the lights were off throughout most of the building. A lone pickup truck was in the parking lot on the building’s backside, and lights were on in an office on the building’s upper floor. However, nobody responded to knocks on the door.
The Spokane Journal of Business made several unsuccessful attempts to contact Vandervert Construction via phone and email. There was no answer at the company’s office phone number, and all calls were subsequently forwarded to a voicemail account.
Dick Vandervert founded Vandervert Construction Inc. in 1975 and sold the company seven years ago to Tim Stulc. He operates Vandervert Developments LLC, which does business as Vandervert Development & Hotels.
“I own 100 percent of development, and zero percent of construction. I’m a little sad this is all happening. I’m sad that I sold the company,” Vandervert said in an interview with the Spokane Journal of Business on Feb. 5.
While Vandervert Construction’s Spokane headquarters was inactive Feb. 5, work continued on at least one of the company’s current major projects.
Vandervert Construction is the contractor on a Super 1 Foods supermarket project, which is being promoted as the anchor tenant for The Crossings, a new commercial development at the northeast corner of highways 95 and 54, in Athol, Idaho, about 20 miles north of Coeur d’Alene.
Ron McIntire, Super 1 Foods founder, said the project is still active.
“Almost everybody showed up for work this morning,” McIntire said. “Our project is just a couple weeks until full completion.”
McIntire referred further questions to URM, the Spokane-based grocery distribution cooperative, which is overseeing the project.
Mike Winger, of URM, declined to comment on the project status and the Vandervert Construction situation.
Nathan Myers, a principal with IBEX Flooring LLC, said IBEX has a long relationship with Vandervert as a subcontractor and is seeking payment for services on certain Vandervert projects.
“It’s an unfortunate situation and will probably have ripple effects for subcontractors and property owners,” Myers said.
Myers said, however, the construction market remains strong.
“The economy, especially in the Spokane region, is in great shape,” he said. “It feels like an anomaly.”
“Hopefully that’s a blessing in terms of timing. Hopefully, others (subcontractors affected by the Vandervert situation) will benefit from the economy,” Myers said.
The receivership marks a reversal of circumstances for Vandervert Construction, which in late 2016 described itself as being in a steep growth mode. The company had opened satellite offices in Bellevue and the Tri-Cities in recent years.
Vandervert reported $58.1 million in 2016 contract revenue, ranking the company ninth on the list of leading Spokane area contractors as published in the Spokane Journal of Business last June.
The company recently completed construction of the $11.8 million Courtyard Inn by Marriott in Pullman, and the $8 million My Fresh Basket grocery store in the Kendall Yards development northwest of downtown Spokane.
Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business contributed to this report.