Spokane County officials are preparing to sell a 41-acre property in the Wandermere area that has fallen out of use. The developer with the winning bid will be expected to transform the old gravel pit into a mixed-use “village” of residential, retail and office spaces.
The county has owned the property, known as the Old Corral, for decades. It’s among the largest pieces of undeveloped land within the county’s urban growth area, and county officials hope the envisioned development will supply much-needed revenue from sales and property taxes.
“The first time I was at the Old Corral was in 1975,” said Gerry Gemmill, who joined the county roads department that year as a heavy equipment operator.
Gemmill, now the county CEO, said the roads department used to extract sand and gravel from the site for use on icy roads. In recent years, the site has been used to store heavy machinery, but otherwise it has served little purpose for the county.
The Old Corral sits at 12807 N. Mayfair Road, a block west of U.S. Highway 395. It’s just across the street from Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar and the offices of Vandervert Developments, which has developed several housing tracts in the fast-growing Wandermere area. Mead High School’s baseball field and running track are just southwest of the Old Corral.
Property records show the Old Corral was divided into two parcels in 2016 so that part of it could be sold. The site also is home to the county’s Northside Decant Facility, a disposal site for dirty water from storm sewers and street sweepers.
County Commissioner Josh Kerns said the bidding process should formally begin next month, and later the top five bidders will present their plans to the commissioners.
Developers will be required to meet certain criteria, such as the amount of greenery and the ratio of retail to residential space. Kerns said those details are still being worked out.
The sale price could vary based on the winning developer’s proposal, Kerns said. The county has the 41-acre parcel valued at more than $1.85 million.
Kerns, who mentioned the Old Corral sale during his State of the County address last week, said the site has the potential to rival recent development in Kendall Yards, where boutique shops line a crest above the Spokane River and hundreds of homes, townhouses and apartments are being built.
“This is an opportunity for us to have something like that up on the North Side, in unincorporated county,” said Kerns, who represents the county’s northern district.
He also referred to an upscale development in Meridian, Idaho, called The Village at Meridian, that features shopping, a movie theater and magnificent water features.
“Whether we’re going to end up with something like that, we don’t know,” Kerns said. “But another mixed-use development – that’s a benefit for the community.”
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