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.
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 May 5, 2021 the board of Spokane Public Schools voted 4-1 in favor of developing on the proposed downtown site. Under the conditions of the school board, Spokane Public Schools would retain ownership of the stadium and the Spokane Public Facilities District would manage and operate the facility. Planning for the downtown site began in May of 2021 and the facility is expected to be complete by 2023. More information about the project can be found at www.downtownspokanestadium.org.Back to Strategic Priorities