Spokane North Notes
A weekly bulletin of the Spokane-North Rotary Club
March 7, 2016
Editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
Photo: Eric Johnson
Program Coordinator: Brad Stark
At K-Yards, if you build it, they keep coming
          Even the considerable wind-chill on a blustery March midday didn’t cool the hot numbers posted by Spokane’s hottest new neighborhood, Kendall Yards.
          Apartment occupancy: 100 percent, with another 150-unit complex scheduled to start construction and a unit for the 55-plus demographic also in the plans.
          Commercial occupancy: 100 percent, with a full schedule of medical, general office and commercial projects planned, including a much-awaited grocery store.
          Single-family residences: Sold and occupied as fast as construction allows.  Some units originally sold for $250,000 have resold for $350,000.
          The numbers were provided during a field-trip luncheon by Adam Jones, commercial development manager for developer Jim Frank of Greenstone Construction.
          Also remarkable:  All this growth has occurred since 2008 – continuing unabated through the recession – on a strip of former railroad land stretching west from Monroe Street in West Central, Spokane’s poorest neighborhood -- at least until K-Yards started raising overall property values.
          Jones, a five-year Greenstone employee, recalled the history of the former brown-fields site.  Metropolitan Mortgage acquired the land from the railroads left for Expo ’74.  Developer Marshall Chesrown’s high-end development plans fell through after he had the site cleaned up to meet environmental standards.  “That was the no-glory part,” Jones said.  Greenstone came to the rescue, using incentive financing (no property taxes on the land for 12 years).
          Jones lists more than 20 years in real estate, with previous stops in Atlanta, Portland and Jacksonville before coming to Spokane.
          When the Kendall Yards project nears completion in the next several years, Jones said some 1,250 housing units will be home to about 2,500 people.  Commercial space, once envisioned for 750,000 square feet, may end up at about 400,000 square feet, he said.  A four-story office building with 60,000 square feet and a 40,000-square-foot medical building are next on the project list.  Two grocery companies are vying for one space.  No lease has yet been signed, Jones added.
          About two thirds of the K-Yards residents, Jones said, are empty nesters.   Relatively few children live in the development.  Greenstone will add 30 to 40 single-family residences and 175 multiple-family units this year, Jones said.
          A street light at Monroe and Summit Parkway, K-Yards’ main thoroughfare, is scheduled for installation this summer.  Kendall Yards’ name is a tribute to Charles Kendall, the first to bridge the north and south banks of the Spokane River.
          Three premium south-facing lots for single-family residents remain.  Prices start at $275,000 and up.
           “We are learning how to densify,” Jones told the 15 club members who braved the chilly spring winds for a walking tour through K-Yards’ commercial district.
           Jones also said the developers, residents and commercial tenants have tried to bridge the gap to the rest of West Central, working with non-profit agencies, Holmes Elementary and neighbors.
           He said no K-Yards grand entry is planned, “because we don’t want to separate from the rest of the neighborhood.”
           A sense of humor also was evident on the tour.  The art store where a speeding auto recently crashed through the large glass window and entry, posted a sign as repairs continued: “This is not a drive-through.  Please leave your car outside.”