Developer, neighbors taking sides on South Hill retail development

SPOKANE, Wash. - Another South Hill retail development is again stirring up debate between developers and concerned neighbors.

The South Regal corridor has faced opposition to development before; in 2006 neighbors rallied to protect a so-called wetland at 44th Ave. and Regal Street. Back then, some neighbors complained that development there would create traffic problems and ruin their quality of life.

Developer Dave Black is planning to put a Target store on a 15-acre parcel at the intersection of Regal and Palouse Highway on the Moran Prairie. The rumors have been swirling about the project for quite some time.

"I don't have the authority from target to make any announcements today but I think it's pretty clear what's going on," Black said.

Target store development

But, as bulldozers get ready to start up, so are the heated discussions about the development.

"Are we developing a district center that meets the vision of the Spokane comprehensive plan, the Spokane municipal code or are we just dropping big box stores in the middle of our neighborhood," Ted Teske, chair of the Southgate neighborhood council, asked.

Teske said there are concerns that the plans don't follow the area's development agreement for a pedestrian enhanced area with a city center feel.

"It doesn't emphasize pedestrian access. It emphasizes parking and emphasizes auto access," he said.

Black countered that Target won't do a two-story building but is willing to consider a facade change so it doesn't look like a generic big box store.

"As far as pedestrian connections, bicycle connections we're all on board with that we're providing them, they are in our site plan. That's something we want to do and Target wants to do that also," he said.

The city will ultimately approve any plans but Teske is worried the municipal code is too vague concerning the proposed design.

"If you're following the letter of the law you'll get one answer, if you're following the spirit and intent it's a different answer," Teske said.

Black acknowledged Teske's concerns.

"Is it going to be a downtown city center? No. It's going to be a Target store. That's what we are going to do. So it's hard to do both," he said.

Teske, on the other hand, said no one is anti-development.

"Nobody is saying 'We don't want a Target,' nobody is saying, 'We don't want this developed,' we just want the development to fit the vision that the neighborhood has," he said.

It is important for KXLY to acknowledge that we own a 30-acre site across the street from the proposed Target store. That land has also been the source of a lot of speculation about retail development. 

According to senior vice president Steve Herling, KXLY continues to explore options for developing the property, but hasn't reached an agreement with potential partners yet.