When developer Marshall Chesrown purchased 77 acres of real estate near downtown Spokane in 2004, a vision was born. Kendall Yards would be a mixed-use “urban village,” drawing residents to the heart of the city and boosting business. After several years of groundwork and financing setbacks, new developers have taken over the project.
Plans emerged in 2006 for a major development on the land, purchased during Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities Co.’s bankruptcy auction. The initial proposal for the site north of the Spokane River and west of Monroe Street showed high-end residential units; up to 1 million square feet of office and retail space; high-rise buildings; and Centennial Trail connections.
Developers completed a
costly environmental cleanup and drew up plans to handle a surge in traffic. Residents of West Central and other neighborhoods voiced concerns and support. And in September 2006, the city examiner approved Kendall Yards. The City Council would later OK special tax financing despite prominent objections.
As the economy began to falter in 2008, the project ground to a halt. Chesrown closed the downtown Kendall Yards offices, and the site was used for parking.
In late 2009, home builder Greenstone Corp. bought the property and promoted scaled-back plans that kept the mixed-use philosophy but reduced the number and cost of the housing units. Work on those units began in April 2010.
The development may deliver a full-service grocery store by Thanksgiving 2012. One to three office buildings and more housing also are planned next year. Greenstone is working with city officials to reduce long-term parking on streets in commercial portions of Kendall Yards and to extend the Centennial Trail through the project.
Updated Sept. 29, 2011.
Marshall Chesrown was the original developer of Kendall Yards. He grew up in Spokane, made his fortune selling a Denver automotive empire in 1997, and returned to the Inland Northwest to go into real estate.