SPOKANE -

After years of sitting undeveloped on its overlook above the banks of the Spokane River dirt is being turned at Kendall Yards, and this time its more than just a ceremonial shovel full of dirt.

Greenstone Corporation kicked off construction for the first phase of its version of Kendall Yards. The mixed-use development will be located on the north bank of the Spokane River and west of Monroe Street reaching to the southern end of the West Central neighborhood.

Greenstone isn't the first development company to break ground at Kendall Yards. Black Rock Development broke ground in 2007 with plans to build a higher end mixed use development but bailed out of the project. Greenstone bought the property in November and company CEO Jim Frank says this time it will work.

"We are placing a bet really, on the Spokane economy and we are confident," Frank said.

The first phase of the construction has begun and includes 18 town homes and houses. Greenstone says six have already been sold. The company thinks the good feeling about Kendall Yards will spread partially because they focused on making the development environmentally friendly.

"A commitment to sustainability, to environmental projection and we think that's really where the future is," Jim Frank said, adding that Greenstone has made living at Kendall Yards more affordable.

The original project called for double the number of homes at nearly double the price. Now single family homes start at $150,000 and loft style town homes start at around $120,000.

?One of the difficulties with many condominium projects in downtown Spokane is they have been very expensive and we are looking to have housing that is affordable," Frank said.

Greenstone hopes to have the first 18 homes at Kendall Yards built by the end of summer.