By Erica Bullock for Spokane Journal of Business
Fat Cat of Spokane has redesigned its proposed garage condo development, scrapping plans for commercial spaces to focus instead on 40 new storage units to sell or lease at 9014 W. Hilton, in Spokane.
“We found demand for storage units seemed to be higher than the demand for the commercial building. So, we decided to do all garage condos,” said Tricia Jarrett, co-owner of Pasco-based Tricia Jarrett Developments LLC.
The redesigned project has a new estimated construction cost of nearly $6.8 million.
The previous plan called for 35 garage condo units and six commercial spaces with a total value of $4.9 million.
“When we got our numbers back, we decided it made more sense to just do the garage condos,” Jarrett said.
Storage condos appear to be an emerging trend on the West Plains. Longtime commercial real estate brokers Chris and Marianne Bornhoft of Bornhoft Commercial are preparing to open a storage condo complex, dubbed Garage Lodge, this year. Garage Lodge is a 23-unit luxury storage condo complex at 1551 S. Deer Heights Road, about two miles west of Fat Cat of Spokane.
The new design for the Fat Cat development includes six insulated, temperature-controlled metal buildings with lighting and plumbing installed in each unit, she said. Amenities will include a shared wash bay and additional parking.
The buildings will have a total of 56,500 square feet of garage condo storage space in all, according to permits on file with the city of Spokane.
Storage buildings will range in size from 5,100 square feet up to 15,000 square feet. Two structures will have four units each, another building will have five units, and three buildings will have eight to 10 units.
Units will range in size from about 1,200 square feet to 1,500 square feet, and one unit will be 750 square feet.
Jarrett said the goal is to complete the project before the start of winter.
Spokane-based Baker Construction & Development Inc. is the contractor. MMEC Architecture & Interiors of Spokane designed the project.
Jarrett said Baker Construction’s President Barry Baker and chief development officer Brooke Baker Spink also are part of Fat Cat’s ownership group and will help show the property to prospective buyers and tenants when needed.
Another member of the ownership group is Jarrett’s father, Tim Bush, who operates the Tri-Cities-based Fat Cat Garage Condos through another company, TTB Investments LLC.
Jarrett said her father and two brothers developed the Tri-Cities storage complex that opened last year, while she and her father are developing the Spokane complex.
She said Fat Cat of Spokane will incorporate the lessons learned from the Tri-City operations.
“The project in Tri-Cities is really similar, but we’ve made a couple of changes because we have learned a few things,” Jarrett said.
For example, Fat Cat of Spokane will have fewer drive-thru garage units than in the Tri-Cities due to a lower demand, she said. Other improvements at the West Plains site include design elements to add natural light and sloping the ground to divert water and prevent pooling in units.
She said reservations for the garage condos will open after subcontractor bids are received and the company can set the unit pricing.
Jarrett said she initially thought the garage condos would be occupied mostly by recreational vehicles and watercraft. However, she’s been surprised by some of the tenants in Tri-Cities that use their facilities.
“What they’ve found is a wider variety (of tenants), such as the police department ... or the school district,” she said. “There was a snow cone truck that stored an extra cart there, and those things we weren’t expecting.”
She said Fat Cat of Spokane won’t have any employees, although the property will be secured with a gate and security cameras.
Facility maintenance will be arranged through a garage condo association and split between all 40 units.
“A lot of people have these toys, cars, RVs that they want to protect, and a lot of times people end up putting them in a gravel lot, or in something that’s not temperature controlled,” she says. “People here work hard to buy these things and you want to make sure they’re going to be taken care of, out of the elements.”
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