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Albertson’s Store Leads Way For Three-Phase Prairie Shopping Center

Wed., Nov. 6, 1996

The new Albertson’s store at the intersection of Government Way and Prairie Avenue won its building permit from the City of Hayden last week. But the 51,000-square-foot store is just the start of a planned three-phase, 27-acre retail complex called Prairie Shopping Center.

The entire project, including as many as 34 stores in nine buildings totaling 227,600 square feet, is north of Prairie Avenue and between Government Way and U.S. Highway 95 and southwest of the Hayden Library.

Evidently no leases are signed yet for the shopping center, but two buildings already exist. The most obvious is Mountain West Bank, built in the past year at Prairie and Highway 95.

But the more notable building is the giant Keystone Lighting facility, a nearly three-acre monument hidden by landscaping on the east side of Highway 95 on the northwest corner of the planned Prairie Shopping Center.

The gray, single story, flat-roofed structure has looked like the fallen gravestone for the 120 employees of Keystone Lighting, which went out of business in the summer of 1995.

Labeled as Phase 3 (but possibly to end up, in reality, as Phase 2) of Prairie Shopping Center, the Keystone Lighting building would be completely renovated into a 120,000-square-foot complex housing about 15 retail shops.

Bordered by Centa Avenue on the north, the building’s west, north and east sides would retain their square shape. The corners of the south end would be shaved off and extended to a point in the south center. The only penciled-in occupants in the plan are a four-screen cinema in the northeast corner of the building.

In the plan, a driveway and a 3,600-square-foot retail space separate the Keystone Building from Albertson’s. Tracing a line through the grocery store to the southwest corner, an elbow-shaped strip mall of 17,500 square feet (with as many as 10 shops) connects to another 17,500-square-foot anchor building on the east side of the project along Government Way.

The shopping center’s primary parking area separates the anchor buildings from five island pad buildings (including Mountain West Bank), which make an “L” with four other pads along Prairie Avenue and one bordering Highway 95. The new pads would range from 3,000 to 6,000 square feet.

Project owners are Steve and Judy Meyer, who also own the leasing company of Parkwood Business Properties. Phone 667-4086.

The McDonald’s restaurant in downtown Coeur d’Alene will wrap its last Big Mac at the end of December.

Lack of business downtown evidently isn’t just a problem for McDonald’s.

Other businesses closing their doors include Cast & Blast, Roxy Antiques and One More Thing Kids, although the owner of that last store will reopen the space with a new name and inventory.

Cast & Blast’s downtown Coeur d’Alene store, featuring casual and outdoor wear, couldn’t maintain a customer base with the seasonal foot traffic on the resort side of town.

“I took a risk and gave it my first-class best shot,” said owner Jennifer Prince, who hung through a three-year lease with her husband Bob. “We got our compliments and good sales during special events, but it’s (downtown) a difficult place to merchandise.

The mix that clicks isn’t quite there, she explained.

“The downtown needs more creative minds in power situations for different activities,” Prince said. “Truthfully, it (business success) may not be a reality for Coeur d’Alene.”

But some stores, such as Starbucks, are eager for downtown space.

“We would love to have a downtown location,” said a Starbucks manager from the Ironwood Square store. She said the company is checking out available spaces but has not yet considered the McDonald’s spot.

Downtown landlord Patrick Jones admitted McDonald’s is leaving, but he wouldn’t comment on the rumor that the Pendleton shop is vacating its space in the Harvey’s clothing building.

Prince said downtown businesses might be more successful if they could get a break in rent prices over the lean months of January through April. Another possibility is making the downtown lively enough or interesting enough to attract more people, such as Leavenworth, Wash., or Cannon Beach, Ore.

Lack of parking isn’t really the problem. If they want to come, people will park a few blocks away.

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Nils Rosdahl The Spokesman-Review

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