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Posts tagged: City of Spokane

Schmautz completing conversion of former Johnston warehouse into offices

Developer Steven Schmautz is completing the renovation of the former Johnston Printing warehouse into commercial offices at 121 W. Pacific Ave. in Spokane.

The conversion will leave about 8,600 square feet of office space. Three tenants have signed leases: The Union, a yoga salon run by Tyler Lafferty and Nick Murto, principals at Seven 2 design firm; Copeland Architecture; and Helvetika, the new name for the former agency Anderson Mraz Design.

The three tenants are expected to move in sometime in December.

The building has one 2,100-square-foot office not yet leased, said Vic Overholser of SDS Realty Inc., the leasing agent.

Rendering courtesy of SDS Realty, of Spokane.

How would Sonnelands’ South Hill property look if it was fully developed?

Earlier on Wednesday we ran a map with an item on the proposed amendment request submitted on behalf of the family of John and Holly Sonneland. That earlier printed map is the existing land use for the 30 acres the Sonnelands own on Spokane's South Hill.

Here is another map from the city that shows the proposed, requested uses for the same property. The large purple block would be centers and corridors designated for mixed use. The darker yellow area to the left and below, bordered with purple lines, would remain residential, but it would change in nature.

As our other SR news story (ran on May 22) reported, the Sonnelands say they didn't submit the full 30-acre rezone request. They say a local developer, Steve Schmautz, went forward for a full rezone, rather than what the Sonnelands wanted, a smaller, less-than-eight-acre rezone of their property.

This map shows that if the full project moved forward, one request to the city would change the residential parcels, currently zoned single-family residential, to R15-30, allowing for up to 30 units per acre.

The original documents accompanying the request did note that the project, if developed, would not build apartments at that density, but closer to 10 units per acre. The Sonnelands, again saying that type of development is several years off, if at all, say they don't want a high-density residential development.

Want more answers on the Sonneland property rezone request? Here’s a link

This is one of those tales that never quite answers all the questions it raises. The Sonneland family, a fixture for decades on Spokane's South Hill, has more than 30 acres that will eventually go through some development. The first part of the plan is the existing Quail Run commercial cluster on 29th Avenue near Southeast Boulevard.

Today's story summarizes the confusion and attempted fix after a developer submitted a request to amend the Spokane Comprehensive Plan and allow mixed-use development on many of the still-undeveloped acres the Sonnelands have.

The property iincludes the last significant green belt of natural land sitting atop Spokane's South Hill.

The upshot: while the city is still reviewing the request for rezoning all 30 acres, the family now says they're not ready to move forward with that size of project. Instead, with the help of a local developer, they're more focused on making a zone change happeon on the northeasternmost 6 acres or so of the property.

To grab more information about the project, on the city's planning department site, go here. Scroll down to the specific link for the Sonneland project.

SCAFCO’s changes at the old race track are needed, and significant

The term “primary industry” and primary jobs came to mind when I wrote the story last week on the evolution of the former Playfair Race Course into Playfair Commerce Park.

A primary industry is a good thing. It's a company that sells its products or services outside the region, thus importing dollars into the local economy.

SCAFCO, the company that acquired the former racet rack, is the quintessential Spokane primary industry. And its ongoing success in selling its steel studs and steel storage tanks is the key reason SCAFCO could buy the old abandoned track and spend a lot of cash improving it.

The photo above is an example of the kinds of changes SCAFCO has made on the 48 acres that are the new commerce park. Provided by Bruce Katahira of SCAFCO, it shows the before and after changes for Olive Street, in the park.

Hats off to SCAFCO. The park has a strong future. The map here also shows the general layout of the property.

Do you love those new blue recycling containers for curbside pickup?

Friday's a short snow day at Office Hours.

So, do you love your new Blue Cart, the 62-gallon containers area cities are giving residents to recycle more of their household stuff?

You can learn more about what happens to all that stuff when it gets hauled out to the Waste Management facility that opened in October. Look for the Sunday stor on that new MRF (materials recycling facility) at Spokesman.com, on Nov. 11.

And let us add: Happy Holidays to all, even if it's way too early.

City and county transfer WorkForce Council to Spokane CCS

UPDATED:  At 1 p.m., we learned that the city and county don't provide money to the Workforce Development Council. Which means this was a politically necessary system that involved some overview by city and county officials, but without any skin in the game.

City Communications Manager Marlene Feist said: “For the first time, SAWDC did get a County grant this year—an outside agency grant for $20,000.

“The SAWDC funding primarily comes from federal and state grants,” Feist noted.

The Spokane Area Workforce Development Council, a joint effort between the City of Spokane and Spokane County, will be relocated as an operation of Community Colleges of Spokane.

The transferl is part of efforts top align workforce services more efficiently and to let Workforce work more closely with the community colleges. 

The SAWDC will continue as a nonprofit agency. Its goals are: closing the skills gap, helping workers gain new skills, helping workers and companies improve productivity and reduce poverty in the region.

A press release said the new plan should make it easier for the agency to find money  from a more sources and streamline management.

An interlocal agreement between the city and county allowed the SAWDC to operate as a city department for nearly four decades.

The release said:  “But as the city and county have looked for ways to improve services for citizens, moving the SAWDC to a non-profit made sense.  Workforce development agencies across the state and nation have thrived using a similar approach.

“This change reflects another model of collaboration between the city and county,” says Mayor David Condon.  “At the city, we are making changes to focus our efforts on what we do best and allow others to operate services that are outside our area of expertise.”

City offers business amnesty for unlicensed business owners


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Maybe a business “amnesty” program is a great thing to celebrate.

Spokane City officials, as part of “Spokane: Open for Business” month, have designated the week of May 21 as amnesty week.
 
It means that any unlicensed business owner can apply for a license without interest or penalty.  To be eligible for the interest and penalty waiver, previously unlicensed businesses must pay for all licenses due during the amnesty period and must not have been previously contacted by the city over unpaid business license requirements. 
 
Specifically, the amnesty in this offer applies to fees a business owner may have incurred from being referred to collection, including any penalties or interest charged.
 
Owners or representatives should go to the Taxes and Licenses Department on the first floor of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., to take advantage of the amnesty week.
 
For other questions about business assistance, call Spokane's Business & Development Services Department at 625-6983. Or visit www.developingspokane.org.

City officials announce launch of Spokane ‘certified sites’ website

Spokane city officials have launched a “certified site” program that will help planners, landowners or commercial developers find information quickly on area properties.

Owners of commercial or industrial land can submit information to the city to review if their properties meet environmental, zoning and utility criteria.

Once certified, the shovel-ready property will be listed on the city's certified website.

Spokane Mayor David Condon backed the idea in his election campaign, saying simplifying site information can help the area’s economic development.

Greater Spokane Inc. President Rich Hadley said the certified site program is the first in Washington state. Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire sent a note to the city saying, “It’s important to help businesses cut through red tape and get to work on our economic recovery.”

The website for the program is: http://developingspokane.org/siteselector/default.aspx.

Quintrall starts new job at the city on Monday; salary: $118,494

Mayor David Condon on Monday announced he's hired local BBB CEO Jan Quintrall to be in charge of the city's Business and Developer Services office. 

That office used to have the name of Economic Development Division. Theresa Sanders, the current city manager, headed that division in the administration of previous mayor Mary Verner.

Quintrall's job starts Monday; she'll earn $118,494 if approved by the City Council. 

Filling in as interim CEO of the Spokane Regional BBB will be Elea Katzele.

The official release said the new division will include building, planning, engineering services, capital programs and workforce development. Quintrall said her focus will be in eliminating red tape and making business activities and projects less cumbersome.

The key job task is “making sure the people who work (in the department) have the right tools to do their jobs effectively,” she said.

While Verner and other mayors have vowed to simplify the permitting and business application process at the city, Quintrall said the system has a ways to go.

She added, “The bureaucracy breeds on itself. There is still a lack of clarity” in how people go through the business development process, she said.

City of Spokane revises and expands its public records search site

Folks who just can't get enough City of Spokane documents can now plan their summer.

The city recently upgraded access to its public records online, adding (relatively) easy access to about 38,000 records.

The city clerk's new records search tool gives access to resolutions, ordinances, leases, contracts and city council meeting minutes. A press release notes more 800,000 pages of information going back to  2004 are viewable.

Mayor Mary Verner said the expanded access is part of the city's commitment to open government. “This tool provides our citizens with 24-7 access to important information on the activities of the City of Spokane,” she said.

The link and online search tool are at http://publicdocs.spokanecity.org/cityclerkrecords/

Downtown Spokane offers a twin bill for its annual meeting next week

Downtown Spokane is offering a double-barrelled program for its annual meeting, which starts at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 17.
 
It will be at the Spokane Convention Center exhibition hall.
 
Renowned speaker and consultant Roger Brooks, founder and CEO of Destination Development International, will talk about how Spokane can showcase its distinctive urban features, beyond the now-obvious “Near Nature, Near Perfect” marketing approach.
 
The second topic will cover how Avista Utilities and the City of Spokane have begun collaborating on efforts to build a energy future that includes sustained cost savings, respect for the environment and enhanced quality of life, according to a program note.
 
To register, go to DowntownSpokane.net. Registration is $30 in advance before Feb. 10, $35 at the door.
 

Spokane Club names Pilcher its new CEO

The Spokane Club today named John Pilcher its new CEO.

After a national search, the club’s board chose Pilcher to move the athletic-social club forward. Pilcher has been serving as interim CEO for the past several months.

“I’m thrilled to be asked to lead this historic enterprise on its path to success,” Pilcher said in a prepared release.

A Harvard MBA, Pilcher has been COO for the City of Spokane and was the city’s first Economic Development Division Director. Pilcher is a former board member of the Spokane Regional Economic Development Council. He has been involved in numerous community projects and civic groups including Rotary 21.

In a recent Sunday Business section story, we looked at the key membership problems the privately funded club is facing.

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John Stucke John Stucke is a deputy city editor who helps build local news coverage and writes about health care, bankruptcy and rural affairs.

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Alison Boggs Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on spokesman.com and its social networking accounts.

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Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

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