Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Local developer John Stone talked about the exciting additions to Riverstone during a tour on March 5 in Coeur d’Alene. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
After more than a decade of setbacks and stalled progress, the 155-acre (Riverstone) development at the Lake City’s front door is springing to life with new shops and restaurants, hundreds of residents and plans to build out the west end with apartment buildings, a regional transit center and possibly a new indoor sports arena for North Idaho College. There’s also serious talk of adding a technology discovery center for kids and families, and finding a new home for the 90-year-old carousel that once spun fun at Playland Pier on Lake Coeur d’Alene. And community speculation about when specialty grocer Trader Joe’s will land here never seems to fade. Stone, who turns 70 next month, is making the final brush strokes on his masterpiece/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
Question: Is it safe to say now that the Great Recession was the only reason that Riverstone hasn't boomed before now?
Developers have big plans for the final phases of Riverstone in Coeur d’Alene, including the high-profile west entrance along Seltice Way. Here are the highlights: An arena for college sports and community events is an idea that has been kicked around for several years. It emerged again in recent months, with North Idaho College looking at possibly owning and operating the venue. The 5,000-seat arena under consideration would cost an estimated $12 million to $15 million. Riverstone developer John Stone is enthusiastic about the project as an anchor on the west end of the development. The arena would provide an economic boost in the winter months when tourism falls off, he said/Scott Maben, SR. More here. (Kathy Plonka SR photo: Rita Sims-Snyder of the Coeur d’Alene Carousel Foundation talks about plans for the vintage carousel)
Question: Other proposals for the Riverstone site include a transit center, discovery center and site for the old Coeur d'Alene carousel. Are these things you could support for Coeur d'Alene?
Tuesday's SR had a story on the impressive legal and professional career of William D. "Bill" Symmes, a longtime Spokane attorney and profoundly diehard sports fan. Mr. Symmes died a week ago.
Among his career highlights was buying a small partial ownership in the Spokane Indians from 1979 to 1982. The owners included Spokane and Coeur d'Alene developer John Stone.
It was Stone who said the AAA Indians franchise made enough money to pay bills, but barely. It became clear to most of the owners that Spokane lacked the number of corporate headquarters needed to provide significant sponsorships and ticket sales.
The owners got into a dispute, with some urging the sale of the AAA franchise to a Las Vegas consortium, while others opposed that sale. Symmes, who was managing partner of Witherspoon Kelley law firm at the time, sided with those urging the sale.
One tidbit: when Symmes, Stone and others bought the team from the previous owners, the sales price was $250,000. "At the time that was a large amount," Stone said.
Three years later when they sold the AAA franchise to the Las Vegas group, that marked the last time Spokane enjoyed a AAA team. From that point on the team became a short-season A league team.
Riverstone West, LLC is asking Kootenai County to pay more than $20,000 a year to use a parking lot for community busing services, after the company has provided the lot for free for several years. The county can hardly be bitter, said Commissioner Dan Green. "I guess it's always nice getting it for free, we'll be disappointed we have to pay, but it's the gentleman's property," Green acknowledged. For roughly five years, developer John Stone has allowed vacant lots at the Riverstone development to be used for Citylink buses to pick up and deposit passengers. Riders have also parked their cars there. Those activities have been situated for about four years at a 1.4-acre dirt lot at East Seltice Way and West Riverstone Drive/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo)
Question: Seems like a small price to pay for a good service. What do you think?
In this 2007 SR file photo, developer John Stone stands in his burgeoning Riverstone development. Riverstone, the large multi-use development off Northwest Boulevard at Coeur d'Alene's western entrance, has been hit hard by the long recession.
John Stone has agreed, somewhat reluctantly, to be interviewed by North Idaho Business Journal at 11 a.m. on 11/11/11. He shows up at Starbucks, right on time, a Riverstone promotional packet in hand and a countenance on his serious face as gray as the November skies. It is the look of a man who devoted much of his time and more of his treasure to create and then shape this project over a dozen years, yet as he walks through the front door of the coffee shop he looks anything but triumphant/Mike Patrick, North Idaho Business Journal writer. More here.
Question: What are the most attractive facets of Riverstone for you?
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/Alison Boggs, SR. More here. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)
Question: How often do you visit Riverstone, to do business, see a movie, shop, eat, or drink?
Item: Stone steps down: SRM Development, LLC announces his departure/Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: After 37 years in the development business, John Stone wants time to play a little more golf, maybe visit Hawaii, too. The man behind the Riverstone project in Coeur d'Alene has stepped away from his role as a partner with SRM Development, LLC. "I believe it is an opportune time to depart from SRM," he said in a press release. "I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in a business that I have thoroughly enjoyed for over four decades and I look forward to continuing the Riverstone project until its completion."
Question: How would you rate John Stone's impact on Coeur d'Alene?