Capital Projects

  • Downtown Stadium Proposal

    Downtown Stadium Proposal

    What It Is

    In 2018, as part of a $495 million capital bond for Spokane Public Schools, the school district explored a proposal to replace 50 year-old Joe Albi Stadium - used for school district high school football - in northwest Spokane with a smaller, 5,000-seat facility in downtown that would potentially also host a professional United Soccer League team. An advisory vote placed on the November ballot favored the northwest site for the development of the stadium project and at that time the school board elected to move forward with redevelopment at the Joe Albi site.

    On March 2, 2021, the DSP and the United Soccer League (USL) announced a new proposal for a 5,000-seat stadium that would be home to Spokane Public Schools football and soccer games and bring a new professional soccer team to Spokane. The request to Spokane Public Schools was to invest the $31 in voter approved funds for a new stadium to serve District 81 High Schools to be build in downtown Spokane, with an additional $2 million contribution from the USL and additional contributed funds. In the new proposal, the Spokane Public Facilities District would assume ownership of the stadium and use PFD resources to maintain and manage the property. Spokane Public schools would gain a new facility to be used for district needs at no additional cost and save SPS millions of dollars in the long term. For the same construction investment SPS would make rebuilding at the Joe Albi site in northwest Spokane, the district would save $17.5 million in operations and maintenance expenses.

    A 2020 economic impact study found that a downtown stadium would generate $11.4 million in annual economic impact for Spokane, versus Joe Albi’s estimated $1.3 million economic impact.

    Our Position

    In 2018, the DSP board endorsed support for the advisory vote on the location of Joel Albi stadium to favor a downtown relocation. “With the downtown stadium, the community is presented with an opportunity to build a multi-use, multi-sport facility that would be a destination for not only football fans, but soccer, rugby, track and field, and even outdoor concerts,” says Richard. The stadium, located adjacent to the Sportplex currently in planning, could be a catalytic step forward in branding Spokane as a destination for sporting events. With several properties already under development on the North Bank of the Spokane River, a stadium would benefit greatly from use by the revitalized neighborhood. At that time the DSP was unaffiliated with the plan considered by voters.

    In 2020, when interest in the downtown site was renewed by a commitment from the USL, the DSP commissioned an economic report under the umbrella of the Downtown Spokane Investment Group, a 501c3 development fund.

    Where We Are

    On March 3, 2021 the board of the Spokane Public Facilities District agreed to key portions of the proposal, including the management and operations of the proposed site, and the proposal was presented to the board of Spokane Public Schools on March 12. Following the presentation, board members solicited extensive community feedback on the new proposal, including public testimony and an online survey. The board is expected to hear the outcomes of the survey on April 14 and will determine a position on the proposal before May 2021.

  • Urban Cultural Trail

    Urban Cultural Trail

    What It Is

    The Urban Cultural Trail (UCT) concept aims to create a cultural and active experience for pedestrians in the downtown by shaping an existing urban corridor – Riverside Avenue – into a sought-after destination. The UCT would encourage residents, downtown employees and visitors to walk along the trail, experiencing urban art, colorful signage, pop-up performances and historic storytelling. The project was a partnership between the DSP, the Spokane Regional Health District, and the Berger Partnership from Seattle, who recently completed similar trail studies for the Seattle Waterfront and MOHAI. The Berger Partnership led the stakeholder group and produced the study. The completed study outlines and defines character zones along the trail, as well as over eight types of urban interventions that might populate the trail experience.

    Our Position

    More active sidewalks means more activity for our local businesses and creates safer streets throughout the downtown. The Spokane Regional Health District is excited about how an urban trail can meet people where they are and encourage physical activity. This project will improve economic development and health though promoting walking along the cultural trail. A key strength of the trail is that most of its components are already there—connecting streetscapes, great architecture, increasingly vibrant businesses and the rich culture and heritage that shape Spokane. Projects like this are not dependent upon expensive infrastructure improvements. For minimal cost, you can start to change the urban environment, for the better.

    Where We Are

    The Berger Partnership recommends the project move forward in developing a unique brand that can build public awareness around the route. Next steps include financing the design and phased implementation for the project.

  • The Podium Sportsplex

    The Podium Sportsplex

    What It Is

    The Sportsplex is the next big public recreation facility in downtown following on the heels of the Spokane Convention Center expansion. It is a project endorsed by the Downtown Spokane Partnership Board of directors over two years ago because of its significant projected economic and cultural impact on the downtown core and the wider community. Though the project will be sited on the northern edge of Riverfront Park, it is a separate project from the Riverfront Park redevelopment project. The facility itself is projected as including two parts; an ice-house with an NHL-sized sheet and seating for approximately 1,500, and, a multi-purpose fieldhouse featuring a 200 meter, six lane indoor hydraulic banked track, and flexible interior space that would accommodate up to 17 volleyball courts, or 10 basketball courts, or 21 wrestling mats. The expected size of the facility will come to 180,000 square feet and will serve two primary purposes; to host large tournaments which generate tourism and to serve as a practice and competition venue for local sports groups and community programming. The benefit to the downtown and wider community is enormous; as projected in an independent studies conducted by Gonzaga University and the Sports Facilities Advisory, the Sportsplex would generate an estimated $33m of revenue to the community on an annual basis. Just as the Convention Center expansion has brought larger conventions to downtown, so would the Sportsplex attract events that are just out of reach based on available facilities to come to downtown. The projected $33m additional tourism spending per year is based on projections of 18,000-23,000 additional out-of-town visitors per year, staying an additional 26,000-46,000 hotel stays per year. An additional key benefit the Sportsplex will provide is the availability of world-class facilities for local sports teams during those times when it is not in-use for major tournaments.

    Our Position

    The DSP Board of Directors endorsed the project itself and endorsed legislation in Olympia that would allow the Public Facilities District to take on bonding capacity sufficient to build the Sportsplex. Staff had Board members have been in regular communication with our legislators to further the passage of the bill which has so far received bi-partisan support in the House. Its relationship to the Park project represents a major opportunity to make the most of that project.

    Where We Are

    Construction on The Podium began in early 2020. A unique financing plan has been developed that brings together in partnership the Spokane Public Facilities District (SPFD), State of Washington, City of Spokane, Spokane County, Spokane Parks and Hotel/Motel Association to fully fund the project. By utilizing an existing State sales tax rebate, lodging taxes, SPFD reserves, and a one-time contribution from the City of Spokane, the project will have the funds to construct and operate the facility without an increase in local taxes.

    The Podium has been selected as the site for the 2022 USATF Indoor Championships. The Championships will be held February 25–26, 2022, and will serve as Team USATF’s qualifying meet for the World Athletics Indoor Championships to be contested March 11-13, 2022 in Belgrade, Serbia.

  • Riverfront Park

    Riverfront Park

    What It Is

    In November 2014, City of Spokane voters passed by a nearly 70% margin a bond measure that allocated $6_m to the nearly complete overhaul of Riverfront Park. Since then Parks Department staff, aided by a robust public outreach program selected a landscape architecture and overall design program which will revitalize nearly every part of the Park resulting in the biggest investment in the 100 acre park since its development ahead of Expo ’74. DSP was involved in the design steering committee that devised the initial concepts leading to the successful bond measure, endorsed the measure and supported the campaign. Some specific project highlights include the development of a major regional playground on the site of a current parking lot on the North Bank, improved access to scenic vistas around the River and a completely revitalized Pavilion.

    Our Position

    DSP staff has remained engaged with the planning process through the Design Steering Committee and continue to facilitate opportunities for the downtown business community to engage with Parks staff.

    Where We Are

    Redevelopment projects in Riverfront Park are scheduled to wrap up and be complete by year end 2021. For a look at the redeveloped park, visit /my.spokanecity.org/riverfrontspokane/

Transportation

  • City Line

    City Line

    What It Is

    The Central City Line is a six-mile Bus Rapid Transit route connecting Browne’s Addition to Spokane Community College by way of Downtown Spokane and the University District. It will be a modern-style electric bus providing nearly 1 million rides per year. It will feature more frequent trips and convenient elements like pre-board ticketing, level boarding and improved stations with real-time signage, wayfinding and other amenities.

    Our Position

    This is a critical moment for the community as it considers whether to pass a slate of operational upgrades and major capital projects for the regional transit system. The Downtown Spokane Partnership wholeheartedly supports the measure and urges downtown businesses, organizations, and supporters to endorse the measure and vote yes on Prop 1 on this November’s ballot. For the region it would fund the construction of multiple capacity-building projects to ensure the region’s transit system is ready for anticipated population growth, and for greater downtown it would result in the Central City Line (CCL), a bus rapid transit project which would connect Spokane Community College, Gonzaga, the University District, Downtown Spokane and Browne’s Addition. The CCL would significantly strengthen the connection between several of Spokane’s residential neighborhoods, major centers of higher education and the downtown core, it would amplify downtown walkability and support a denser urban core.

    The completion of the CCL is the right kind of project, in the right place at the right time to make a critical difference for the region’s urban core. After over 15 years of planning and analysis, now is the right time to make this project happen.

    Where We Are

    The City Line bus rapid transit (BRT) line is currently under construction with service expected to begin in 2022. The 6-mile-long route will be operated by the Spokane Transit Authority, will run from Spokane's Browne's Addition neighborhood, through Downtown Spokane and the University District, including the WSU Health Sciences campus and Gonzaga University, before ending at the Spokane Community College campus. citylinespokane.com

Safety Advocacy

  • Regional Collaboration

    Regional Collaboration

    What It Is

    A position paper addressing threats to the vibrancy and health of our region’s economic and cultural center: the criminal and nuisance behaviors caused by addiction and to a lesser but still significant extent, the unavailability of adequate mental health treatment facilities.

    Our Position

    The position of the board of the DSP is to provide a regional approach for restorative services; increase access to services that address mental health and addiction including mentorship, life and job skills and employment opportunities; to provide adequate facilities to deter repeated criminal behavior; and a centrally located downtown Police Precinct facility in the office, retail and hospitality core. Complete position paper

    Where We Are

    This position was adopted by the board of the Downtown Spokane Partnership in September of 2019 on the recommendation of the Safety Committee of the DSP.

  • Sit and lie ordinance

    Sit and lie ordinance

    What It Is

    In 2013 your DSP worked hard to find consensus among businesses, the City Council and civil rights attorneys to adopt reasonable and important changes to the “Sit and lie ordinance” (SMC 10.10.026). This ordinance, in partnership with increased Police presence in downtown, has led to lowered overall crime statistics in downtown Spokane, fewer large gatherings of people who intimidate customers and employees, and a decrease in aggressive negative behavior.

    Our Position

    The DSP led by the Board of Directors remains in support of the ordinance and believes changes in SMC 10.10.026 have critically improved everyone’s downtown experience while remaining respectful to all citizen’s use of our downtown spaces.

    Where We Are

    SMN 10.10.026 remains in its form following the 2013 approval. Downtown Ambassadors, Spokane Police, and other security agencies continue to educate about, and enforce, the ordinance as it stands.

Development

  • Spokane Falls Blvd Height Restrictions

    Spokane Falls Blvd Height Restrictions

    What It Is

    Since height restrictions were enacted as part of the Downtown Plan Update in 2010, two sites located south of side of Riverfront Park have remained underutilized as surface parking lots in spite of the ownership group’s efforts to develop them. The purpose of the height restrictions were to reduce shadowing of Riverfront Park but a renewed interest in top quality, large scale development befitting a major park renovation has exceeded the interest in minimal shadowing. The owner group and brokerage team have identified existing height restrictions - with the corresponding reduction in developable space and profitability - as the reason that the sites have remained undeveloped as surface parking lots. Assessment of shadowing impacts of larger buildings on the park show that, although there is an increase in shadows from buildings of this size, they are relatively small during spring through fall.

    Our Position

    The DSP Board unanimously endorsed reduced/eliminated height restrictions at its March 2017 meeting. In 2018, the DSP maintains that height restrictions along Spokane Falls Blvd. are hindering development at two major opportunity sites identified in the 2009 Downtown Plan. In March of 2018 staff produced a White Paper outlining reasons why the restrictions should be lifted.

    Where We Are

    The City conducted a working study of the height requirements with a final report issued and adopted late 2017. In accordance with the findings of that report, the City is seeking input into possible amendments to the height restrictions on the south side of the park. The current proposal is to allow greater heights in that area in exchange for a limitation on uses in towers (residential or hotel only) and consideration of shadowing impacts on the Park. Under consideration are limitations on the floor size of towers and the distance between them. The DSP asks that members provide statements to the Plan Commission to demonstrate to our elected officials that the downtown business community is united behind providing opportunity to develop mixed-use projects of regional and even national prominence at two of our most significant remaining Opportunity Sites (as defined in the Downtown Plan Update) - the Liberty Building and Parkrite parking lots on Spokane Falls Blvd. TALKING POINTS