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SPOKANE, WA—It’s a very visible space for a company that doesn’t get much walk-in traffic. World Wide Packets, a designer, developer and manufacturer of optical networking equipment, recently paid $500,000 cash to purchase the vacant Future Shop retail building just east of Downtown Spokane. World Wide will use the asset, which has been valued at $1.3 million, for its new headquarters.

The location puts the new owner not in the heart of the professional services district but rather in the midst of a retail district. “The real estate market is different here than (in Portland or Seattle),” World Wide Packets CEO Bernard Daines told GlobeSt.com. “There’s not a lot of space, and a build-to-suit means a 10-year lease. I’ll be out of business or out of the building before then, so you have to do things different here.”

Matt Hawkins of Kiemle Hagood, which represented World Wide Packets, says the 10,000- to 40,000-sf spaces in town have been snapped up by the high-tech sector in the past six months. New space is being built to add some slack, but finding space on short notice is tough unless you get creative.

So getting a 30,000-sf building with 30-foot-high ceilings for less than half of its tax-roll value plus the cost of a land lease was a prudent idea, says Hawkins. “It just made a whole lot of sense to hold it themselves,” he comments. “If the retail market were to strengthen, they could turn right around and sell it off as a retail property and recoup plus some.”

To boot, the new owner can reuse the neon signage. “All we need to do is stick the letters IP in front of the ‘appliances’ sign,” says Daines.

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