Jeff Humphrey

Code Changes Brings New Life to Neighborhoods

Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308

Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 5:11 p.m.

The City of Spokane wants to make it easier for developers to restore vacant or deteriorating buildings in our neighborhoods.

The new change in the City’s Development Code applies to existing commercial structures and opens up several development opportunities.

For example, a vacant building on Newark Avenue in East Central Spokane could soon be a new bakery.

“Using that space more effectively, creating a neighborhood draw, creating jobs right on the site there and making bread for the neighborhood, Nathan Gwinn of the City’s Spokane Development Services Center said of the project.

The code change also allows former commercial property to be converted into a small, multi-family building, or be used for an office or mixed-use building.

That same property can also now be renovated to create a new, small business that might provide nearby residents with a shop or restaurant they can walk to.

“And then you will see more interest in adjacent properties, more interest in that site and possibly more improvements going in to support that business and attract more neighborhood customers,” predicted Gwinn.

A pilot project in West Central Spokane showed the value of allowing changes in the ways these older commercial properties so they can enjoy new vitality in today’s residential neighborhoods.

The owner of a tree-trimming firm now wants to take a boarded up service station on west Broadway and turn it into his new company headquarters.

Many of the properties are located at street corners and can be high profile locations to serve the community. City officials support the code change because it also helps prevent deterioration of structures as they continue to age.

Up until now, community members reported that development restrictions on these former commercial properties created barriers to investment and restoration of these buildings.   

To improve the fit between commercial uses and the residential neighborhood, several features in the code are meant to maintain a relatively low commercial activity level. 

The types of new uses allowed include financial and medical offices. Retail sales and service uses are also permitted, such as stores, restaurants, or bike repair shops.

For more information about how these changes would allow development of a former commercial property in your neighborhood, contact the City of Spokane Development Services Center.

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