The most important downtown Spokane business

Currently, Rite-Aid is the most important business in downtown Spokane. At least, if we want to continue to grow our residential base. (PHOTO: ky24941 on Flickr)

Nope. You’re not blind. The most important business in downtown Spokane is Rite Aid. Much talk is given to Nordstrom and Macy’s and Apple, but if our goal is to increase the amount of people living downtown, then Rite Aid remains critically significant to the area’s long-term success. Why? No other store downtown offers such basic needs. Where else, for example, could you purchase a toothbrush at 9pm when you realize that you need a new one? (Answer: nowhere.) When deciding whether to live downtown, people don’t worry about shopping. Our downtown shopping scene is already excellent. They worry about where they are going to find basic needs: food, medication, supplies.

Indeed, in order to drive long-term success in attracting young professionals to live downtown, city leaders and businesspeople should be focused on bringing more basic retail to the area. Attracting a grocery store should be the number one priority. (In contrast to Mark Richard’s proposal to close the Spokane Public Library branch and insert large-format retail.) Local favorite Rosauer’s could explore an urban concept store, or Albertson’s could build a local version of “the market by Safeway” (Albertson’s will soon complete its Safeway purchase). But one thing’s for sure: basic needs trump outside desires in the new downtown.

What do you think? Is Rite Aid the most important business in downtown Spokane? Do you shop there? Live downtown? What would be your most important store? Where would you like to see a grocery store downtown? And which retailer would you like to see operate it? Share your thoughts in the comments below, on Facebook, and on Twitter. We love to hear from you.

On the Market: Wonder Bread Factory

The former Wonder Bread Factory is a gorgeous brick building primed for redevelopment located on the North Bank of the Spokane River.
The former Wonder Bread Factory is a gorgeous brick building primed for redevelopment located on the North Bank of the Spokane River. (PHOTO: Commercial MLS)

Now we know why Bazaar presented by Terrain couldn’t take place at the former Wonder Bread/Hostess Factory on the north bank of the Spokane River at 803 N Post. It turns out that the property is for sale. Kiemle-Hagood is representing the owner, who they describe as “motivated,” and list price is $3.5 million.

The former Wonder Bread Factory is one of our favorite old brick buildings in Spokane, so needless to say, we’re excited about the potential for redevelopment at this site. Rumors had focused on David’s Pizza, which closed when North Hamilton’s Clementine Building was constructed. But imagine something like an expanded Spokane Public Market with a myriad of fast-casual restaurants (a la Saranac Commons or San Jose’s San Pedro Square Public Market) and an expansive public patio. Imagine loft apartments overtop upscale retail. Imagine a total remodel with major investment in the site.

We can’t wait to see what happens.

What do you think? Would the former Wonder Bread Factory make a good replacement site for the Spokane Public Market? Would you like to see something like a larger Saranac Commons? Loft condos? A rooftop garden? Share your thoughts below in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter, and in person. We love to hear from you.

Urban village to rise on Spokane’s South Hill?

Will the next Kendall Yards be located near Southeast Boulevard and 29th on Spokane's South Hill? The developers of Quail Run seem to hope so. Honestly, doesn't this look like Central Food at the Nest in Kendall Yards? (PHOTO: Quail Run Spokane)
Will the next Kendall Yards be located near Southeast Boulevard and 29th on Spokane’s South Hill? The developers of Quail Run seem to hope so. Honestly, doesn’t this restaurant look like a new Flying Goat or Central Food? (PHOTO: Quail Run Spokane)

Matthew Byrd of Cornerstone Property Advisors is marketing an urban village at Quail Run on Spokane’s South Hill. Early site clearing has gotten underway on the property, located near the intersection of 29th Avenue and Southeast Boulevard, and vertical construction could be in progress within a few weeks.

But as with all Spokane projects, it seems, this one has positive and negative aspects. Luckily, under all three scenarios, the majority of the new construction would be fronting a new “main street.” A water feature is envisioned in two of the three ideas. But one proposal in particular features a large anchor store and more extensive parking. And no specifics are given on whether any of the projects would be mixed-use, with residential features. For full project proposals, see the Quail Run website here.

Hopefully the developers will construct a mixed-use urban village fitting of the next great American city. A project that will enhance quality of life and reap positive benefits not just for buyers of the development, but for neighbors as well. Residential in particular should be a critical component of any successful project. Time will tell, as construction is set to get underway soon.

Why this blogger’s been MIA

Affordable housing need not be ugly. With land use policies favoring dense, mixed-use development and the relative cost savings of upward construction, design is coming more into play with these low-income units. (PHOTO: 555yvr.com/SFGate.com)

Why have I been absent? To put a long story short, I’ve been writing a lengthy paper on affordable housing and the implications of land use policy on its implementation. Take a look at the article on Scribd (or click after the break for a preview) for an interesting read. With Spokane’s visible homeless population, it’s clear that the current housing model in the area is not working. Perhaps some of our land use regulations and ordinances are to blame.

Read more after the break.

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Will the South Perry District finally gain urban-style residential units?

This pit at 907 S. Perry in the South Perry District has been empty for months. What's going on?
This pit at 907 S. Perry in the South Perry District has been empty for months. What’s going on?

The South Perry District easily makes the list of Spokane’s favorite neighborhood retail centers. It’s small, pedestrian-friendly, and inviting. And while it’s a great area, some lament that it doesn’t have enough quality housing for those who desire to be close to South Perry Pizza, Casper Fry, and Perry Street Brewing, among others. But a major construction project planning to get underway shortly could quickly change that. And perhaps teach Spokane a lesson about density in the process.

KCLH, a Spokane development firm led in part by principal Harold Preiksaitis (who happens to also be a local doctor) plans to build a $1.3 million, two-story, 13,000 square foot mixed use building at 907 S. Perry. On this empty lot. In this pit. The company tentatively plans to build lower-floor spaces for a restaurant and a medical practice, with residential units on the upper floor. While no permits have yet been received by the city, negotiations with tenants were underway last fall. While construction was scheduled to begin then, we’re thinking it was held up by weather and slow tenant negotiations.

Does anyone have any additional information on this planned South Perry mixed-use? Let us know by commenting below, on Facebook, on Twitter, or in person. We’d love to hear from you.

Coeur d’Alene grows up as One Lakeside gets underway

One Lakeside will feature fourteen stories of apartments and ground floor retail. The mixed-use design will utilize beautiful architecture featuring abundant glass and a perfect scale for the city.

We don’t post too much about Coeur d’Alene here at The #spokanerising Project, but we couldn’t resist bringing the news that another new high-rise will soon join McEuen and Parkside Towers on Lake Coeur d’Alene’s north shore. Ground will be broken on One Lakeside this spring in anticipation of substantial completion within two years. The fourteen-story, 173-foot tall tower will feature a large increase in units for the lot and a fancy-pants rooftop pool.

While the project was delayed due to a lawsuit from owners of the condo building north of this site, that lawsuit has now been tossed and construction will begin promptly, first with demolition of the existing two-story apartment building currently on the lot.

For more renderings of One Lakeside, follow us after the break.

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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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If It Had Happened, Part 4: Gateway Office Building

The Gateway Office Building, which would have been located near Division in Spokane's primary entry corridor. (PHOTO: Stephen Meek Architects)
The Gateway Office Building, which would have been located near Division in Spokane’s primary entry corridor. (PHOTO: Stephen Meek Architects)

Here’s a project which would have changed the face of Spokane near one of its major entry points forever. And it might have just been the most architecturally-distinctive developments in Spokane’s history. The Gateway Office Building would have been built in downtown Spokane between the East End and the University District, acting as a sort of “bridge” between those two rapidly-developing areas downtown, just as it serves as a “gateway” to our city. Hence the name.

As proposed in early 2007, otherwise known as Spokane’s development “black hole,” due to the high number of projects that were proposed but never saw the light of day, the Gateway Office Building would have featured eleven stories, with retail space on the ground floor. At 365,000 square feet, it would have been a large building with four stories and 400 total parking spots. Renderings reveal that AdvantageIQ was the proposed major tenant. AdvantageIQ later became Ecova and, somewhat regretfully, took a major position in the Rock Pointe Office Building instead of moving to this building, which, you guessed it, was scuttled due to the economic crisis.

See more renderings after the break.

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If It Had Happened, Part 3: Manito Park Place

PHOTO: Stephen Meek Architects
PHOTO: Steven Meek Architects

Here’s an interesting project that never got off the ground before it was turned over to new developers and scaled back. Manito Park Place, to be located at the intersection of 20th and Grand Boulevard directly across from Manito Park, would have featured 27 units spanning four floors. At 76,000 square feet total, with units getting between 750 and 1900 square feet each, it would have been the largest condominium complex near the park. Understandably, the units were to be luxury units at a luxury price point.

Rob Brewster called off the development in early 2008 as a result of neighborhood opposition to the high density of the proposed complex. By February 2008, the site had been rezoned to disallow the type of dense project which had been proposed. Instead, the site was developed with a more modern design and ten units.

PHOTO: Google Maps
PHOTO: Google Maps

Here it is under construction. Note how small the lot would have been to get 27 units on the site. Neighbors objected to increases in traffic, feared decreases in safety for young children, and opposed the commercialization of what was once a neighborhood street.

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