It promised 11,000 jobs and 6,000 shoppers a day, all coming together in Post Falls at a huge regional shopping center.
Two years later the International Expo still isn’t off the ground.
California developer Jim Watson now plans to move forward with an abbreviated version of the center.
Gone are plans for a multiscreen movie theater, ice rink and water slides. Also missing are the motel, auto mall and community hall.
In their place, Watson proposes 200 acres of retail, light industrial and commercial development, built over the next five to six years.
“What other location is there between Coeur d’Alene and Spokane that offers the access and visibility of a freeway overpass?” Watson asked, referring to his property along Interstate 90 at Pleasant View Road. “Two or three years ago, the brokerage community was saying, ‘That site doesn’t really make sense.’ That’s changed.”
For those who did bet on Expo two years ago, the only thing that has changed is the smaller scope of the project. Two fast-food restaurants and a service station/convenience store sit waiting for what comes next and looking back at what might have been.
“We kick ourselves for not going onto Seltice Way,” said Scott Hatter, who owns the Burger King franchise at Expo. “As it is, we’re out here in the middle of nowhere.”
That too, according to Watson, is about to change. For a look at Expo’s plans, see today’s Business section on page A16.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo