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Kendall Yards: The Last Piece to Spokane's Urban Puzzle

Kendall Yards: The Last Piece to Spokane's Urban Puzzle

Kendall Yards is a 77-acre strip of modernly undeveloped land sandwiched between Spokane, Washington’s West Central neighborhood and the Northern bank of the Spokane River below Spokane Falls. Locals claim that it was (it is now being developed as I type) the largest contiguous piece of undeveloped designated “downtown core” land in a regional city

Kendall Yards Master Plan

Kendall Yards is a 77-acre strip of modernly undeveloped land sandwiched between Spokane, Washington's West Central neighborhood and the Northern bank of the Spokane River below Spokane Falls. Locals claim that it was (it is now being developed as I type) the largest contiguous piece of undeveloped designated "downtown core" land in a regional city in the country, though that is largely unverifiable.

The goal of Kendall Yards is to become the regional example for mixed-use development; retail, office, grocery, restaurants, a spa (stolen from the city's premiere luxury downtown historic hotel, no less), apartments, and single family homes will all have a place in Kendall Yards. Both high and low-income housing options are to be offered through a Multifamily Property Tax Abatement for those in the latter tax bracket. Though, it should be noted that the area is not zoned for mixed use, but rather a conservative attempt with only the skinny Eastern tip zoned for "Community Business" and the rest as "Residential Multi-Family."

This is Spokane's first fully-functioning multi-use development created by a single developer (Greenstone) in the city-designated "Urban Core." It is controversial in the local planning community due to its watered-down nature as of 2009. To residents in West Central, the development is feared because residents feel as though they will be victims of gentrification, as the development area is the most crime-ridden and one of the lowest-income neighborhoods in Spokane; and about to receive some of the most expensive urban housing in Spokane - probably against their will. To those who live in the "true," existing downtown core South of the Spokane River, they feel it a threat to their land value as future development may creep Northwards along the Monroe Street corridor.

To learn more about the history and future of Kendall Yards, certainly go to The Spokesman-Review's topic page, providing a summary of the situation and full access to all 100 articles they have written on the project dating back to 2004.

Why do you think Kendall Yards was left undeveloped for so long? Can you think of a better use for the land?

Credits: Image and data linked to sources.

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Aascot Holt is an undergraduate at Eastern Washington University, pursuing a major in Urban and Regional Planning and a minor in Geography. She will graduate in the spring of 2013. She is from Stevenson, WA and currently lives in Spokane, WA in a bri...

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