A $23 million federal loan for River Park Square is “moving in the right direction” and could be approved by the end of July, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray said Tuesday.
The loan will probably have some conditions, said Murray, who added she hasn’t been told what those might be.
The Democratic senator said she has been lobbied by opponents and supporters of the downtown redevelopment project.
She met Tuesday with city officials and developers, and got her first in-depth look at the plans for the $100 million project.
After a tour of the existing River Park Square, Murray said she thought the proposed combination of retail stores, movie theatres and a parking garage “appears to be something that will attract people to Spokane.”
The project may keep the downtown core vital, she said.
“My own personal view is it is very difficult to come back after a downtown has been devastated.”
Murray stopped short of saying the loan from the Department of Housing and Urban Development would be approved.
The federal loan, which would come with an interest rate about 2 percent lower than a commercial loan, is a key to proceeding with the project, developers have said.
“HUD loans have to be approved on their merit,” she said. The agency staff members “have to look at all the details.”
While members of Congress can’t ensure a loan’s approval, opposition from the state’s congressional delegation will lead to its denial, she said.
“I have not seen any opposition from the delegation,” she said.
She has heard of opposition from some state residents - including Seattle developer David Sabey, owner of NorthTown Mall.
“I have not personally talked to David Sabey,” she said. “But David Sabey has written my office.”
Mayor Jack Geraghty and other city officials argued that the downtown project isn’t designed to compete with NorthTown.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
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