8-acre Retail/Commercial Property Planned on Former South Regal Lumber Site. Developers to present plans to Neighborhood Council on January 13th.
Through the summer the neighborhood could hear the sound of jackhammers and rock crushers processing over 40,000 cubic yards of basalt and bedrock to level the former South Regal Lumber site for future commercial development. South Regal Lumber shut its doors at the end of 2014 and demolition and grading of the 8-acre parcel began in earnest last spring. The developers are now planning to move on to the construction phase of the project starting in 2016.
In 2013 Cyrus Vaughn consolidated the ownership of the parcels along Regal Street between 53rd and 55th Ave. and successfully petitioned the County for zoning changes to allow commercial development of the entire 8-acre area. The new proposed development, Regal Commons, has been marketed to potential tenants and businesses for over a year by local broker Sperry Van Ness Cornerstone. Their website shows renderings of the potential development and highlights such features as “12 Apartment communities within a quarter mile” and “Lighted Intersection at 53rd & Regal with 26,000 cars per day.” Potential tenants are listed as grocery, drug or hardware stores; restaurants, coffee shops and offices are also listed.
Articles in the Journal of Business highlight developer’s interest in Southgate as the next major development region in Spokane. In April 2015 Guy Byrd was quoted by the Journal as saying,”the next major commercial growth area likely will be along the Regal Street corridor on the upper South Hill, especially from 44th Avenue south to 57th Avenue.” He also opined about the future of the KXLY site further north on Regal Street, “The site…is being planned as a lifestyle center that would have up to 100,000 square feet of commercial development with residential components, similar to Kendall Yards, northwest of downtown, or Riverstone, in Coeur d’Alene.”
In June 2015 Byrd was again quoted by the Journal of Business regarding development on South Regal, this time specifically related to specialty grocery stores like Natural Grocers and Whole Foods. From the article: “I think you’ll see these types of grocers on Regal,” he says. “The South Hill has a good demographic for their users. That’s where people with higher socioeconomic income are concentrated.” The article discussed the new Trader Joes and Natural Grocers stores along North Division and discussed the entry of the last major brand in category, Whole Foods, into the Spokane market.
With the economy improving, the eyes of the local commercial and high-density residential developers are falling squarely on our neighborhood. 2016 is shaping up to be a very busy year with KXLY, Regal Commons, and the Palouse Trails Apartments in various stages of development.
Getting in the Zone – Annexation’s Effect on the Development
In March of 2015, the Spokane City Council accepted the request of Spokane Housing Ventures to be annex their three apartment complexes along 55th Ave into the city. The Council, following city policy, expanded the annexation area to include adjacent properties to avoid creating a spot annexation surrounded on three side by County land. In December, the Spokane Plan Commission held its second workshop on the proposed annexation of this property and other adjacent parcels between 53rd and 55th Ave. from Regal Street to Palouse Hwy. Under consideration was the zoning designation of the parcel as it is brought into the city. Currently the property is zoned “Mixed-Use” under the County, the city of Spokane is considering either Community Business or Center and Corridor (CC2) for this property.
Southgate Neighborhood Council provided comments and testimony at the hearing in support of the CC2 designation since it more closely aligns with the intent of the County Mixed-Use zoning and the goals of the Spokane Comprehensive Plan and Southgate Neighborhood Connectivity Plan. As noted by the developer, there are 12 apartment complexes within a quarter mile of this property (including 360 new apartments along 55th Ave. alone). The proximity of such high density housing makes this property a perfect candidate for a pedestrian-oriented mixed-use development that can provide services and amenities to the thousands of residents within walking distance.
Presentation to Southgate Neighborhood Council
The City Council will be considering approval of the annexation in late January/early February, so there are opportunities for Southgate to provide more input to our representatives while they make their decision. The developers of Regal Commons are currently opposed to the Center and Corridor zoning designation, but they are coming to the Southgate Neighborhood Council meeting on Wednesday, January 13th to present their current plans and discuss them with the neighborhood. I strongly encourage area residents to attend the meeting to learn more about the future of this major commercial project and provide their input directly to the developers. A consistent, open dialogue is the best way for all parties to support each other and the smart growth of our neighborhood.