The South Landing Development: A Bold Vision for a Sustainable Future

Case Study

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The South Landing development in Spokane, Wash., began with a bold vision from Avista’s Chairman and then CEO Scott Morris. When Morris learned the University District Gateway Bridge would land on Avista’s property, he knew it was a golden opportunity to create what he envisioned as “the five smartest blocks in the world.”

“We set out to bring together smart grids, smart cities and smart buildings in a way that’s never been done before. This is our opportunity to create a new energy future for the 21st century,” said Morris.

With this transformational vision in mind, Avista purchased several additional parcels of land to create a large enough footprint to build the Catalyst building—one of the largest zero-carbon, zero-energy buildings in North America—and the Scott Morris Center for Energy Innovation.

Shared Vision, Shared Commitment

After providing the land, Avista strategically recruited some of the brightest minds to share and develop Morris’ vision.

  • McKinstry brought expertise in sustainable design, construction and building operations. They helped design Catalyst and the Scott Morris Center from the ground up with innovative systems like the centralized plant that powers both buildings, and an Eco-District that shares energy between the buildings and the electric grid.
  • Katerra provided advanced wood construction techniques to build Catalyst out of locally sourced mass timber on a never-before-seen commercial scale.

Together, these partners have demonstrated the endless possibilities when leaders from diverse industries come together with a shared vision. “One of the exciting things about the South Landing Development is that when your vision is bold enough, you have to innovate to achieve it,” said Dean Allen, McKinstry CEO.

Through advanced building techniques, new materials, and an innovative Eco-District shared energy model, this innovative and collaborative group has built nothing less than a real-world model for efficiency, sustainable developments, and energy innovation.

A Catalyst for Community and Economic Vitality

Avista’s vision to create the five smartest blocks in the world is the latest example of the utility’s innovative spirit, focus on doing what’s right, and collaborative commitment to help communities thrive. Time and again during its 130-year history, Avista has taken strategic actions to propel the community forward at critical points in time.

Even before its grand opening on September 17, 2020, the South Landing development was already enhancing the community and economic vitality of Spokane and the 30,000 square mile area that Avista serves.

The development extends the University District technology sector across the railroad tracks to connect local industry with the downtown business core and the health care medical complexes on the lower South Hill. By transforming the East Sprague neighborhood into a leader in energy innovation, environmentally conscious construction, and sustainability, this innovative development will inspire others and spark new possibilities, new ideas, and entirely new businesses.

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