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LCDC gives boost to Northwest Place

Northwest Place, a new retail-office development, is getting a $118,000 boost from the Lake City Development Corp.

Board members voted Wednesday to help pay demolition costs for former buildings on the site. LCDC is Coeur d’Alene’s urban renewal agency.

Northwest Place is being built near the off-ramp of U.S. Highway 95 on Northwest Boulevard. The site formerly housed a nightclub and a motel.

Tony Berns, LCDC’s executive director, said the new construction will contribute significantly to the city’s property values. Northwest Place’s estimated value is $11.5 million, while the Pines Motel and the I Dunno nightclub were valued at $1.3 million, he said.

Developers John Beutler and Marshall Chesrown initially asked the urban renewal agency for $467,000 in assistance. Board members reviewed the request, deciding to fund a lower amount, said Rod Colwell, who sits on LCDC’s finance committee.

“It was an ugly building, an ugly site and costly to improve,” Colwell noted.

However, board members weighed the developers’ request against the level of funding they thought would be necessary to give the project a reasonable rate of return, according to Colwell. “It’s a judgment call,” he said.

Beutler, who was not at the meeting, later said he was disappointed that the board didn’t fund more of the $467,000 request. He said the request was based on pricey site preparation work, including moving water and sewer lines, correcting past hillside erosion problems, and pulling asbestos out of the old buildings. The developers followed LCDC’s application guidelines to come up with the $467,000 figure, he said.

But Beutler said he remains supportive of the urban renewal funding concept.

“It’s an encouragement to do a larger project, knowing you can get a little bit of relief,” he said.

The I Dunno nightclub, for instance, could have been remodeled and used as commercial building. But, “that’s not the highest and best use for the land,” Beutler said.

Northwest Place will consist of two office buildings, with retail on the first floor and two floors of office space. The first building will be ready for tenants in the fall. The second building is scheduled for completion early next year.

Colwell recused himself from voting for the funding, as did board Chairman Charlie Nipp. Colwell, a banker, and Nipp, a developer, said they had professional ties to Northwest Place’s developers.

Beutler and Chesrown will not receive the $118,000 outright. They’ll be reimbursed over time, from property taxes collected from Northwest Place.

Northwest Place is one of several new developments that received urban renewal funding this year.

The Parkside, a $55 million retail-office-residential tower in downtown Coeur d’Alene, was approved for $820,000 in assistance. The money helped relocate a Social Security office that was a former tenant on the site and paid for the burial of overhead utility lines, and a public plaza and other items. The developers, Miller-Stauffer Architects, will also be reimbursed over time.

In addition, the Trail Edge condominium project received $57,000 in urban renewal dollars. The eight-unit complex on Mullan Avenue is valued at about $4 million.


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