Kendall Yards goes high-design in 2016 planning and construction projects

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Kendall Yards is going modern in its attempt to woo more retailers and restaurants to its commercial district. The Bluff Building, shown here from the Centennial Trail, will offer a permanent indoor space for the Night Market. (PHOTO: Spokane Planning)

Kendall Yards continues to grow in its quest to woo more retailers and restaurants to its burgeoning commercial district, and more residents to its growing array of townhomes, condos, and apartments. Three major buildings will continue or commence construction this year, further enhancing the new urbanist oasis. Unfortunately, none of the three buildings will offer a strong mixed retail/residential component, but as the district continues to develop, we anticipate more of those types of projects to come on line.

Read on for more on the projects anticipated in Kendall Yards for 2016.

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The case for co-opting Kendall Yards’ “Urban by Nature” slogan

From this vantage point, it’s clear that Spokane truly is “urban,” yet also is astoundingly close to nature. How can we reconcile these two seemingly contradictory identities? (PHOTO: Young Kwak via The Inlander)

What do you think of “Urban by Nature” as a refinement of Spokane’s current “Near Nature, Near Perfect” mark? Greenstone has been using that slogan to market Kendall Yards, but perhaps it would be better suited to market Spokane itself. It’s already proven to be more than capable of describing that mixed-use urban village development near downtown, where the Centennial Trail provides easy recreation access, yet also a five-minute walk to all of downtown’s urban amenities. Perhaps it could be re-tooled or re-purposed by Visit Spokane.

Sure, “Near Nature, Near Perfect” is great, but it fails to encapsulate the essence of our city because it neglects the urban amenities that Spokane offers. It’s clear from the mark that something is located close to nature, but just what is it? It could describe any size of city. What makes Spokane great is that it has all of the benefits of a larger city, and yet is still located just five minutes from amazing hiking and biking trails in Riverside State Park, or half-an-hour from Mt. Spokane. “Near Nature, Near Perfect” doesn’t work because it fails to acknowledge that. And who wants to be near perfect, anyway?

By contrast, “Urban by Nature” offers a somewhat obvious, yet also sophisticated alternative. We retain the “near nature” or “by nature” aspect, highlighting our region’s easy access to world-class recreation. But we also add the “urban” aspect, keying ourselves into what should be our target demographic: young urban professionals and entrepreneurs. It also highlights the broader trend in urban design and affairs: millennials aren’t living in suburbs like their parents did. They are living in cities. They want all of the amenities and benefits that come with living in a city and all the convenience and recreational amenities of the suburbs. Spokane can offer that distinct choice, and the “Urban by Nature” slogan offers a unique opportunity to show that off. The play on words only helps the cause.

What do you think? Would Spokane be better served by a better slogan? Would “Urban by Nature” be a good alternative? Or does “Near Nature, Near Perfect” still fit the bill? Share your thoughts in the comments, on social media, and in person. We love to hear from you!

Kendall Yards #Progress: March 23, 2014

This mixed-use building at Kendall Yards will feature retail and restaurant space on the bottom floor and two stories of residential lofts on the upper floors.
This mixed-use building at Kendall Yards will feature retail and restaurant space on the bottom floor and two stories of residential lofts on the upper floors. Photo taken March 23, 2014.

Spring has sprung at Kendall Yards. The new urbanist/mixed use development near downtown has taken on a decidedly more urban (and local) feel of late, as Greenstone focuses on three new buildings in the neighborhood’s commercial district. With Yards Bruncheon now complete, construction is focused on Wandering Table next door, a building that will be the new permanent home for Veraci Pizza, and a new three-story mixed use building with streetfront retail and residential units above called the Highline Lofts. While some leases for the building are presumed to be signed, we only have confirmation that Brain Freeze Creamery will occupy the suite closest to Wandering Table on the western-most side of the building.

With all of these local restaurants joining Central Food, it’s pretty clear that the neighborhood has become a venue of choice for homegrown local businesses much more in line with reality than the Marshall Chesrown/Black Rock designs we saw (and salivated over) in 2006. We’re excited to see which tenants are lined up for the almost-complete Highline Lofts building, when a proposed four-story mixed-use building between Veraci Pizza and Spa Paradiso will break ground, and what will become of the rest of the neighborhood, especially with plans for additional surface parking in lieu of underground garages in the commercial district. Just try to keep that aspect to a minimum, okay, Greenstone?

For more construction and progress photos, hop along after the break.

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