April 12, 2009 in Idaho Voices

Council OKs annexation

117 acres along Highway 41 cleared for commercial development
By The Spokesman-Review
 

The Post Falls City Council has given a green light to the annexation of 117 acres at the intersection of Highway 41 and Prairie Avenue – for commercial development only.

Applicants Phillips Edison of Salt Lake City, Prairie Crossing West LLC and Prairie Properties LLC had originally proposed a 277-acre annexation, to include residential property. A new proposal to annex only the commercially zoned acreage was brought before the council April 1 after the original was tabled.

All but one council member agreed this was a better plan.

“If we’re going to develop as we go north, that’s the perfect corner for commercial,” said Councilman Ron Jacobson.

Councilman Scott Grant is concerned about traffic but believes it can be resolved.

“I still like the idea of embracing large annexations, but glad they took out the residential,” Grant said.

Council member Kerri Thoreson agreed that she was not unhappy to see the residential property taken out of the equation.

Denny Davis, an attorney with Witherspoon, Kelley, Davenport and Toole, is representing Phillips Edison, which will develop 50 acres at the northeast corner of Prairie and Highway 41. He said the development, Post Falls Station, could include Fred Meyer as an anchor tenant.

“They’re serious because they came and told us,” Davis said.

That would give Wal-Mart, the only department store in Post Falls, some competition.

Phillips Edison, a retail real estate company with more than 25 million square feet of neighborhood shopping centers scattered throughout the country, was not interested in the residential aspect anyway.

“In terms of timing and phasing, the timing is right,” Davis said.

Roy Williams of Phillips Edison said the first step is the extension of utilities – water and wastewater lines. The project would be serviced by the Ross Point Water District.

“We have to be annexed into the water district as well,” Williams said. “They’ll help us with the routing.”

Williams said Phillips Edison hopes to accomplish the utility annexation by early fall. As far as development, he said, it’s contingent on the agreement with Fred Meyer.

“We’re working with them on that deal,” he said. “Our hope is to have a final commitment from Fred Meyer by late spring or early summer.”

Williams said Fred Meyer would take up about 13 1/2 acres, with another acre for a fuel pad. He said the anchor store really dictates the site plan, so he was unable to provide details on other possible tenants.

Prairie Crossing North jumps Highway 41 to include land north of Prairie on the west side of the highway. Post Falls Mayor Clay Larkin is also concerned about Highway 41, saying he was given a master plan for the highway 14 years ago, and nothing has been done. He plans to have a discussion of Highway 41 improvements placed on the May agenda of the Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting.

“I would like to see it (Highway 41) improved from Ross Point to Rathdrum,” Larkin said.

He said they are expecting more commercial development throughout the corridor, and residential will “follow commercial.”

Correspondent Linda Ball can reached by e-mail at rckwriter@roadrunner.com


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