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Riverstone awaits final pieces

An earthmover works Tuesday at the west end of the Riverstone development. Coeur d’Alene’s urban renewal agency has approved financing to extend a road to the final lots. (Jesse Tinsley)
An earthmover works Tuesday at the west end of the Riverstone development. Coeur d’Alene’s urban renewal agency has approved financing to extend a road to the final lots. (Jesse Tinsley)

Road, utilities for CdA project could be finished in few months

The final public improvements could be complete within the next few months at Riverstone, a 160-acre residential and commercial project along the Spokane River in Coeur d’Alene.

“We will have all of our infrastructure completed, and all of our lots will be available and ready to go with this last piece, so that feels pretty good,” said Development Manager Mike Craven, of SRM Development. “We’ll have more lots available and more choices.”

Coeur d’Alene’s urban renewal agency, the Lake City Development Corp., recently approved $1.5 million in tax-increment financing, which helps the developer extend a road to the complex’s final 11 lots.

That brings the total of tax-increment financing used for the development since 2000 to $9.68 million. With tax-increment financing, the developer pays the project costs upfront, then as property values rise within the designated project area, the developer receives a portion of the increased property taxes to recoup the investment in public improvements, such as roads, sewer and water lines.

Craven said the public-private partnership has generated an estimated $200 million in private investment over the development’s life. In addition, he said, Riverstone has created about 2,900 design and construction jobs, and about 800 people work at dozens of businesses there today.

The Riverstone West Phase II project site comprises about 21 acres on the northwestern section. The $1.9 million in infrastructure improvements would extend a road about 1,850 feet and would include installing utilities, paving, building curbs and gutters, lighting, landscaping and other work.

However, the developer only applied for $1.5 million because the remaining $400,000 would be taken on by Whitewater Creek, a Hayden developer building a 50-unit affordable housing apartment complex within the project site. The LCDC also approved tax-increment financing for the public improvements for that project. Some 450 feet of the roadway extension will be attributed to Whitewater Creek.

The Riverstone West Apartments will include one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $360 to $640 per month, Todd Prescott of Whitewater Creek said in an LCDC presentation last month. Prescott said Riverstone is desirable because it is centrally located and close to the free CityLink bus service.

“If we had to choose a site, it all culminates in Riverstone,” he said.

Prescott said the $7.7 million apartment project will be financed with federal tax credits; federal HOME funding, a low-interest loan program; bank financing; and block grant funds from the city of Coeur d’Alene.

Also scheduled for construction this year within Riverstone are a medical office building, a 10,000-square-foot office building and a 10,000-square-foot FBI field office, Craven said. Also planned are The Ugly Fish Sushi Restaurant and the CityLink Transit Hub building, to be built on four acres on the northwest corner of the complex.

Craven said approximately 65 residential condominiums were sold within Riverstone in 2010, with 23 still on the market. He said land is selling and office space is at or near full occupancy. Doing the final road extension, he said, will help Riverstone prepare for additional land sales as the market continues to rebound.