PF tech park on horizon

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Josh Montreuil/Press

POST FALLS — A 233-acre technology park is being planned on the west side of Highway 41 and the same developers are marketing a 50-acre retail center on the east side.

Prairie Crossing developers Philip Wirth and Rick Robinson are planning the Inland Northwest Technology Park with the intent of attracting technology and aerospace manufacturers to the site between Prairie and Hayden avenues.

"We're early in the planning stages," said Brad Marshall, of JUB Engineers, adding that annexation will likely be applied for this winter.

"The goal is for the business park to be very attractive, clean and with open space and trails — something we can all be proud of."

Marshall said the location is ideal for a technology park since it is centrally located between Post Falls, Rathdrum, Hayden and Coeur d'Alene.

It’s also near the technical schools in Rathdrum operated by North Idaho College and the three local school districts.

"Those workforce training centers are right in the backyard," Marshall said.

The property is also near highways, the interstate, railroads and the airport.

JUB is performing a sewer study on the northeast section of Post Falls that should be finished by the end of the year to address growth in the corridor. Sewer service is available at the intersection of Highway 41 and Prairie, but will need to be extended.

Marshall recently made a presentation to the Post Falls Urban Renewal Agency about the technology park.

"We're talking to them about creating an urban renewal district as a possible funding source," he said, adding that an application to the agency has not been made.

Urban renewal districts have a base tax rate when the district is created. That base tax rate continues to be collected by the county and remitted to taxing entities over the life of the district. As a district is improved, has new construction and increases in value due to improvements, the incremental tax created by those improvements in excess of the base tax is allocated to the URA to pay for the public improvements that have been made within the district.

Marshall said economic conditions are ripe for the tech park on the prairie.

"The economy is roaring," he said. "We have cheap power, abundant water, an affordable cost of living and great quality of life."

Marshall said the developers have been doing business in Post Falls for 15 years, including in the Highway 41 corridor and with the Stateline Business Park.

He said the tech park project is following bustling recent residential growth in the area and the Highway 41 corridor improvements that are being designed. The Idaho Transportation Department plans to widen the corridor to four lanes, with construction slated to start in 2019.

Meanwhile, the developers are marketing a site for a retail center northeast of the intersection of Highway 41 and Prairie Avenue. The site is already in the city, zoned for commercial development and has services.

"Extending the sewer there was a game changer," Marshall said.

A neighborhood shopping center with grocery store, retailers, restaurants and banks are planned.

"No companies have committed, but those types of businesses are being recruited," Marshall said.

The property was purchased from Ohio-based Phillips Edison and Co.

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