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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Coeur d’Alene’s Riverstone development sold after two decades

John Stone poses for a photo at The Village at Riverstone in Coeur d’Alene on Aug. 27, 2019. He and his partners have sold the mixed-use development.  (Kathy Plonka/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

After more than two decades spent converting a shuttered saw mill along the Spokane River into a thriving mixed-use development in Coeur d’Alene, John Stone and his partners in the Village at Riverstone development decided it was “time to bring the hay into the barn.”

“We all wanted to do some more things in to the community and bring on some more challenges,” Stone said. “We decided it was time to sell the project.”

They had no trouble doing so in the city’s thriving real estate market, according to Casey Brazil, vice president and partner of Kiemle Hagood, which handled the property’s sale.

Brazil said the property was never even on the market when, after a couple of days informally spreading the word that it was on the block, a deal for an undisclosed sum was signed.

While Stone says he can look back with satisfaction on a project he’s been building since 1999, it wasn’t always clear that Riverstone would be such a hot commodity – or even that it would be completed.

When the Great Recession hit in 2008, the project stalled, retailers pulled out, windows were boarded up, condos were offloaded in distressed sales and the future was murky.

But Stone and his partners – Nikole Cummings, Ryan Martin and Brad Stone – ultimately were able to ride out the turbulence and complete the project.

“We’re really proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Stone said.

Riverstone’s model of combining retail, residential and commercial opportunities within a relatively dense area proved prescient, Brazil said.

It’s the kind of development, he said, that “is kind of a sign of the future,” even when, in Riverstone’s case, it’s many years old.

The buyer of the Village at Riverstone, All-Terr, is an investment group based in Bellingham, with members in Coeur d’Alene.

“They purchased it for the investment,” Brazil said. “They’re just excited and think it’s a great project, and they love the location.”

They’re not alone in seeing Coeur d’Alene as an attractive place to invest, Brazil said.

Idaho in general and Kootenai County in particular are “just on the map for investors” from Western Washington, California and Oregon, he said. “We’ve seen a lot of money move into the area.”

Tony Berns, executive director of ignite CDA, the city’s urban renewal agency, said Riverstone has been a “huge success” that “offers a lot to the community.”

Stone signaled that his work, and that of his partners, isn’t done, although he wouldn’t offer specifics.

Stone suggested he will be announcing new projects in the area soon.

He also plans to watch the new owners continue the work that he started at Riverstone, although they won’t have a lot of undeveloped land to create the kind of ground-up reimagining and construction that occupied Stone and his team.

Of the 160 acres once occupied by the sawmill, only 3½ acres remain open, Stone’s partner Ryan Martin said.

“Everything else has been developed,” Martin said.