SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane City Council approved a request to give a developer more than $106,000 for a six-story apartment building in an area known as the East Downtown Historic District.
The request passed with a 5-1 vote.
The project, called Riverside Commons, will include 104 apartment units with 7,200 square feet of restaurant and retail space, according to city documents. It will be taller than many buildings in the area and offer views of the city in all directions.
City Council President and 2019 mayoral candidate Ben Stuckart is sponsoring the proposal.
"What it actually does is public improvements," he said.
The project would likely qualify for $1,370,328 in citywide incentives, including a multifamily tax exemption, general facility charge waiver and urban utility installation program, documents say.
Stuckart said the building is intended for housing students in Spokane's University District.
According to city documents, the building will be located at the northwest corner of Browne Street and Riverside Avenue in a building originally developed as a bank.
"It's in the right of way owned by the city," Stuckart said. "It doesn't pay for anything private."
Councilwoman Kate Burke made the opposing vote on the project. She said the money for the investment should be put toward building more low-income housing.
"Projects like this will not benefit our entire community but a select group of people," she said. "We need to stop tinkering around with the trickle down housing and actually start investing in low-income, affordable housing that will actually benefit our community members."
After passing the council's vote, the project now awaits final approval from Mayor Condon.
Since it will be part of the East Downtown Historic District, elements of the project will also need to be reviewed by the Historic Landmarks Commission.
The project located on the west end of the University District will also be served by the Spokane Transit Authority’s Central City Line set to launch in July 2022.
STA describes the Central City Line as a “corridor-based Bus Rapid Transit route” expected to serve more than one million riders in its first year. The bus line is expected to generate around $175 million over a 20-year period.
Riverside Commons will also be one of the first ground-up mixed-use buildings developed in the area in many years, city documents say.