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SPOKANE, WA-Developers here aren’t missing out on the explosive growth in the Puget Sound region. It’s sort of what’s keeping them busy.

“We’re not a Seattle or a Boise or another metropolitan hot spot, but Spokane is definitely on the move,” notes Kevin McCathren, vice president of Janek Co., a Spokane-based real estate company. “I think one of the reasons is the pressures metropolitan areas such as Seattle are experiencing with gridlock. Suddenly Spokane starts looking OK.”

Though the entire Spokane area continues to experience steady growth, McCathren says more rapid growth can be found in the Liberty Lake region, a bedroom community about 15 minutes east of Spokane. Over the past several years, McCathren says the area has attracted high-tech operations as diverse as Hewlett-Packard, Webbiness and Telect. As a result, the area is also attracting retail stores, hotels and restaurants.

Janek Co. is currently marketing portions of an 8.5-acre stretch of land in the area located alongside Interstate 90, where it is developing an office park geared toward small businesses. Two hotel projects also are in the works in the area, says McCathren.

One of the attractions for businesses is the fact that Spokane draws a population base of more than a million people, including those who travel to Spokane regularly from Canada and nearby rural towns. Ultimately, though, the biggest lure is most likely the affordable lease rates.

While class A office space in the Seattle area is cresting at $50 per sf annually, in Spokane it tops out at $21.50. “Talk about opportunities–we are bargain,” says McCathren. “What’s more, you can actually get to work on time.”

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