On Wednesday May 11, the Downtown Spokane Partnership (DSP) presents the inaugural State of Downtown featuring Keynote Speaker, Michael J. Berne.

Dedicated exclusively to the health of the urban core, DSP staff and Board of Directors work diligently each year to advocate on behalf of downtown’s continued growth and vibrancy. We are excited to introduce an all-new event which will bring together our Member Partners for an inspiring opportunity to refresh, renew, and revitalize continued energy in our city center.

“2022 is a vital year to the health of downtown,” says DSP Interim President, Andrew Rolwes. “After two years on pause, how we approach the new normal today is going to set the trajectory of the next ten years.”

This fast-paced event will feature the 2022 presentation of the Legacy and Impact Awards followed by a thought-provoking presentation from Michael J. Berne.

Michael J. Berne is one of North America’s leading experts and futurists on Downtown and Main Street business districts as well as the retail industry more generally. As the Founder and President of New York, NY-based MJB Consulting (MJB), Berne has amassed 20+ years of experience in conducting market analyses, devising tenanting strategies and spearheading implementation efforts across the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

Berne is a regular presenter and keynote speaker at industry conferences, including those of the International Downtown Association (IDA). He served two terms on IDA’s Board of Directors, including two years as a Vice Chair of its Executive Committee. He has lectured at the University of Pennsylvania, Pratt Institute and the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to his widely-read “Retail Contrarian” blog, he has contributed to two recently-published books on Downtown and Main Street retail.

Prior to Berne’s presentation the 2022 Downtown Awards will be presented. Award honorees were nominated by the community in the fall of 2021 and determined from among the nominees by a committee of the Downtown Spokane Partnership Board of Directors.

The 2022 Honorees are:

Legacy Award | Tom Simpson

The Legacy Award is awarded to a company, organization, or individual who has left a mark on our city by creating positive and sustainable transformation in downtown. Recipients represent visionary and creative problem-solving solutions accomplished through grassroots efforts, strong partnerships and innovation. Recipients exemplify exceptional contribution to the business, civic, or human vitality of downtown Spokane, often becoming the catalyst for other development in the community.

One nominator wrote of Simpson, “As CEO of Ignite Northwest, he has made the building a hub for entrepreneurs and innovators. Tom also created the ‘Other Eastside’ social media series to promote Downtown Spokane, with photos and fun facts highlighting our beautiful city. He relentlessly promotes Spokane as THE place to live, work and play and connects new startups to brokers to find work space in our Downtown.”

Impact Award | Jim Frank/Kendall Yards

The Impact Award is awarded to a company, organization, or individual who has made an impact on the downtown core in recent years. Recipients are renegades and risk takers, often finding potential in an underutilized property, or lending credibility to outrageous ideas. Recipients look at the community as a whole, bringing together partners to revolutionize the way business is done and serve as a role model for others in the business community.

A nominator wrote of Frank, “He has developed an entire new neighbor for Downtown Spokane which has had a tremendous impact on our growth in the core. Providing a beautiful transformation of a contaminated site into a thriving neighborhood of beautiful residential, retail, dining and professional

office space. It fostered viability of new projects like the Wonder Building.”


  • Wednesday, May 11, 2022
  • Riverfront Park US Pavilion
  • Doors 3:00pm | Event 3:30pm | After party 5:00pm

The event is presented by STCU with support from sponsors, Cowles Company, Wheatland Bank and Black Realty Management.

Tickets are available through AXS, find links at www.downtownspokane.org

About the Downtown Spokane Partnership

The DSP is a private, non-profit membership organization that serves as Spokane’s central city advocate and service provider of the Downtown Spokane Parking and Business Improvement District, dedicated to enhancing the quality and vitality of Downtown Spokane as the basis for a health region. The DSP accomplishes its mission through advocating for public policies, business and project development, quality planning, physical improvement projects, public safety, beautification, and marketing programs that ensure downtown’s continued success. To learn more, visit www.downtowspokane.org.