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Here’s the Dirt: Old drive-in will be a site to watch

An old drive-in movie theater that attracted cars filled with teens and adults is slated to become a village-style apartment community.

The former North Cedar Drive-In has sat empty for 12 years, but could soon house a multi-building complex with 100 apartments, a lodge and swimming pool surrounded by green space. The 9.7 acres, located on North Cedar Drive, north of Francis Avenue, are being developed by Dixon Investment Co. and Greenstone Corp.

John Stejer, president of Dixon Investment, said the group is currently deciding whether the project will have a mixed-use component with office or retail space. The multi-family units will have a Northwest flair, he said.

While the group initially discussed building more apartments, they instead chose to create a plan that featured more green space and fewer living units, Stejer said.

“We decided to scale it way back to create a village concept with a lot of green space to complement the neighborhood and area.”

Dixon Investment Co. also owns 250,000-square feet of retail space along Francis, including 5-Mile Plaza.Spokane County records show that Cedar Investment Co. LLC purchased the land for $1 million last year.

County planning officials met with the developer in early February to discuss preliminary plans for the property, said Ron Hand, development assistance coordinator for Spokane County. The land is appropriately zoned for the project and preliminary plans show 17 buildings, some two-story apartments, and a lodge, he said.

Jim Frank of Greenstone Corp. was out of town but said in an e-mail that the development is similar in many ways to Adirondack Village, a development his company built on 44th Avenue and Regal Street in south Spokane.

The group is currently working through soil testing for the site, which was once a gravel pit, and hopes to be ready for permit application in a month or so, Frank said.

“We really like this site because it is so close to shopping, restaurants and employment. It is also on a good transit route and a very good in-fill location,” Frank wrote, adding, “It would be a good place to live and provides the opportunity to reduce automobile dependence.”

Buying property one floor at a time

A local business owner recently bought the third floor of the Freeman Center, a seven-story mixed-used condo building.

Mark Wilkerson, who owns VEBA Service Group LLC and Wilkerson and Associates employee benefit consulting companies, purchased the 4,200-square foot space in the building at Second Avenue and Lincoln Street for $440,000. He already owns the fourth floor of the building and plans to lease most of the newly acquired third floor, with the exception of 1,000-square feet that he’s keeping for future expansion.

“One of the advantages here is you have the opportunity for both residential and business use. I do see it as a good opportunity for investment,” said Wilkerson, adding that there are already two residences in the building that take up entire floors.

The building, which features rustic red brick and wood beams inside, houses Peters and Sons Flowers, Gifts & Gallery and a tasting room that serves Mountain Dome wines.

Valley Business Fair going strong

The Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce is hosting its fifth business fair on March 28, from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Mirabeau Park Hotel, on Sullivan Road off of Interstate 90.

So far, 80 of the 100 booths have been rented, said Sue Rusnak, office manager for the chamber.

Businesses represented include banking, security, financial services, hotels, universities, mortgage companies, chiropractors and others. Last year about 500 people attended the fair, which was intended to promote networking and increase opportunities for participating businesses.

For more information, call (509) 924-4994.


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