Avista Unveils Plans for Catalyst Building in Spokane’s University District

Eastern Washington University to move three programs from its College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CSTEM) to the Spokane location

SPOKANE, Wash. (Feb. 6, 2018) – Today, Avista Development unveiled plans for the Catalyst Building, the first in a series of developments, in Spokane’s University District. The 150,000 square-foot building will be the first office building in the state constructed out of environmentally friendly cross-laminated timber (CLT), and will be connected to an energy resource sharing eco-district planned for the development. Eastern Washington University (EWU) will be the building’s primary tenant, moving their Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Visual Communication Design (VCD) programs from its Cheney campus to the new Spokane location.

Avista Development owns the land on which the building will be erected and has formed a separate entity, the South Landing Building A, LLC, with long-time McKinstry executives Dean Allen and Bill Teplicky to develop the project. Allen and Teplicky have developed more than 1.3 million square feet in Spokane, Seattle and Portland, including the SIERR Building in Spokane’s University District and 428 Westlake in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, as well as the eco-district in downtown Seattle that powers the Amazon Spheres. Avista also owns parcels to the south, east and west and has plans for future development of those locations.

The new building will serve as the landing for pedestrians who use the University District Gateway Bridge currently under construction.

“We’re thrilled to be the catalyst for expanding Spokane’s urban core,” said Scott Morris, president and CEO of Avista. “This development will add to the vibrancy of the University District and will drive further economic development in the city.”

The building is intended to demonstrate the possibilities of the integration of economic vitality, regional sustainability and energy efficiency by leveraging the legacy industries of the region (such as timber) and the innovation happening in the construction and education sectors. The use of CLT means the building will have a smaller carbon footprint than that of comparable buildings built with steel and concrete. CLT is a kind of mass timber made from trees harvested from local managed forests. Katerra, who will also be a tenant in the building, will manufacture the CLT in its new Spokane factory and will serve as the design builder for the project. McKinstry, whose offices are in Spokane’s University District, will be the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection and data contractor.

Designed to be net zero ready, the building will generate the energy it uses through solar panels on the roof and additional renewable energy technologies. The Catalyst Building will be connected to an eco-district that will be powered by a centrally located plant shared by Catalyst and future developments. The plant will allow buildings to share energy resources to more efficiently generate and use energy, and to store excess energy created by the buildings for later use.

“We’re fortunate to have assembled such an innovative, local team to build such an iconic building for Spokane,” said Dean Allen, principal, South Landing Building A, LLC and CEO of McKinstry. “This is the first time CLT has been used in an office building in the state of Washington. That plus the use of the latest technology for creating, monitoring and consuming energy will set a new standard for sustainable design.”

The developers envision a space where industry and academia intersect to foster collaboration and innovation. As the primary tenant of the building, EWU’s spaces will feature modern, high-tech classrooms that will provide students with immersive learning experiences. By relocating programs from its CSTEM, the University hopes to increase the capacity of the regional workforce in key areas of engineering, computer science, data analytics, digital media and tech commercialization and transfer.

“Eastern Washington University is excited to establish itself as a distinctive university that truly inspires knowledge, ignites change and revolutionizes the way we do education,” said EWU President Mary Cullinan. “From the beginning, we felt like the development at South Landing would provide our students a one-of-a-kind opportunity to interact with the companies that may one day employ them.”

Michael Green Architecture of Vancouver, British Columbia, is the design architect. Construction of the new building is scheduled to begin in September 2018 and is expected to be complete by April 2020. For more information and project updates, visit catalystspokane.com.

About Avista Development

Avista Development, a non-utility subsidiary of Avista Corp., seeks to invest in local real estate, businesses and other assets that strategically leverage the strengths of local and regional partnerships, enhance the economic vitality of Avista’s utility service areas, and further Avista’s commitment to deliver shared value to those we serve.

About South Landing Investors, LLC

South Landing Investors, LLC is made up of Dean Allen, Bill Teplicky, and other minority investors. Both Allen and Teplicky have extensive development experience in the Pacific Northwest. They have developed over 560,000 square feet together and over 1,365,000 square feet total. The SIERR Building is an example of their work in Spokane, and demonstrates how buildings can promote innovation and collaboration.

About Eastern Washington University

EWU is a rapidly-growing, regional, comprehensive public university, located in Cheney, just 16 miles from Spokane. Founded in 1882, Eastern has evolved to meet the demands of an ever-changing workforce and become a driving force in the culture, economy and vitality of the Inland Northwest. The EWU Spokane campus is in the thriving University District and is home to the university’s College of Health Science & Public Health and the College of Business & Public Administration. This presence allows the university to solidify important academic and community partnerships in the region. Learn more at www.ewu.edu.


McKinstry helps bring buildings to life for some of the country’s most successful companies. View projects >

Sports & Entertainment

McKinstry works with architects and engineers to bring their most ambitious civic-building visions to life while working within often challenging budget parameters. View projects >


Customers count on McKinstry to build and manage these critical environments better than anyone else. View projects >

Project Sectors

Explore the environments McKinstry helps bring to life.


Together, building a thriving planet.


Taking responsibility to efficiently develop, engineer, deliver and operate the built environment.