Columbia Basin Trust’s $1.5 million purchase of the former 5N Plus building is seen as a strong deal for the entire region.
Built for $10 million back in 2011, the 40,000-square-foot high tech facility has stood vacant for almost four years after the Quebec-based 5N Plus company closed the doors in May of 2013.
“The LCIC (Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation) has worked very hard over the past few years to attract new business to our area, and continue to do so,” says Ali Grieve, Area A Director.
“At the same time, we see the commitment from Columbia Basin Trust to actively pursue and stimulate economic growth for the region. Then we have a group of business partners willing to bring jobs into our community by providing opportunities for the fast growing tech industry,” she added.
“The former 5N Plus building allows all of this to come together in one prime location. Fabulous news for all of us.”
Announced last week, the Trust describes the investment as a plan of action for economic development. The building, located just past the Trail airport, once housed technological innovators and leaders, now the Trust and its partners plan on doing that once again.
“The Trust’s vision for economic development is to be a leader, a catalyst and an investor,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Trust president and chief executive officer. “We want to support economic growth, job creation and entrepreneurial opportunities in the Basin.”
The intention with the project is to take a dormant facility and work with a company or companies that will fully utilize the building and the area’s workforce.
“This is much more than a building,” Strilaeff added. “The Trust is the catalyst for this entrepreneurial opportunity to bring ideas to life.”
Working with local tech entrepreneur Brian Fry and his business partners, Pilar Portela and Tim Dufour, the goal is to fill the facility with new jobs and new opportunities.
“The structure was originally built to leverage the world-leading metallurgical capabilities of the region,” Fry said. “Now, with the Trust’s economic development focus and patient capital, we can once again leverage these capabilities and complementary tech industry opportunities.”
Former 5N Plus locale
The Trust developed a new economic development strategic framework in 2016 to take a more proactive role in growing the Basin’s economy and allocated $20 million over three years to put the strategy into action.
“The Trust’s strategy is to maximize economic opportunities in all regions of the Basin, be that through increased employment, local investment or business development,” Strilaeff said. “This building is an example of an asset that can help achieve that vision.”