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Downtown Spokane stadium on course to open this fall

Local businesses believe the project can have positive impacts on the community.

SPOKANE, Wash. — One of Spokane's largest projects is just a few months away from hosting Friday night lights. The downtown stadium has been years in the making and will serve as a multi-use venue.

Nearby local businesses have already noticed the growth, and it's something many of them welcome with open arms.

"I'm so excited to be a part of it," Juli Norris, the owner of Kasa Restaurant & Taphouse said.

Norris has dreamed of moments like this for years. Greeting customers as they walk through the doors of her very own restaurant. In the city, that means everything to her.

"Spokane is really my life," she laughed.

 Kasa is the fulfillment of that vision Norris has worked to create. Her newly opened business is just a few months old, but she thinks customers will appreciate the location where they set up shop. Especially with its proximity to Riverfront Park and new projects being built.

"There are so many cool things happening with the stadium, with The Podium, events at the arena," Norris said.

A new sporting and entertainment venue will open yards away from the restaurant this fall.

And while construction continues, the vision is already clear for Greg Forsyth.

"It comes together a lot faster than you think," Forsyth said while observing cranes move large hunks of metal.

As the Director of Capital Projects for Spokane Public Schools, he has watched the stadium turn from an idea to revamp Joe Albi in 2015 into what's now being built downtown. The $37 million investment will eventually be able to hold up to 12,000 people.

School and public facility officials anticipate the project will generate $11.4 million in positive annual economic impact.

"So we're still on schedule of opening late September, early October," Forsyth explained. "We won't make the first football game, but we'll certainly see some football games within the field this year," he continued.

High school football, concerts, and the United Soccer League will all be included in the stadium's usage. On top of that, Forsyth says the hope is that a more central downtown location will provide better access to parents and students who would like to attend sporting events.

"We're excited for our families to be able to experience a game on Friday and then still go downtown and have a meal," Forsyth said.

According to the Spokane Public Facilities District, 2,500 open parking spaces will be available within walking distance of the stadium. The former Value Village on Boone will also serve as another parking location with at least 300 spots.

As for business owners like Norris, she's looking forward to new customers who may discover her restaurant before or after the events held at the stadium. She says experience from The Podium and the arena have helped her get prepared for what's to come in the future.

"All of us are a little bit better at our to-go game now," Norris smiled.

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