SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward announced on Monday that the new downtown Spokane police precinct will be ready to occupy in July 2020.
The 6,800-square-foot precinct will be located at Riverside Avenue and Wall Street in the former Umqua Bank building, Woodward said on Monday. The building is right next to the Spokane Transit Authority bus plaza and the Spokane Library.
The new police precinct will replace a much smaller downtown police location at the Spokane Intermodal Center that had about half the officers.
"Crime is dropping and a new precinct will enhance this progress," Woodward said.
Woodward added that five additional officers with the Spokane Police Department, a detective and a sergeant will join 16 personnel already assigned to the downtown core. Two Spokane County Sheriff's Office deputies will also use the precinct.
Five members of the police department's Behavioral Health Unit will also join two already working downtown, said Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl.
Thirty-five total SPD officers and staff members will use the "highly visible and strategic facility," Meidl said. He said the location will offer greater visibility for the department and more opportunities to engage with the community.
The city will lease the space, which is expected to cost $295,000 apart from funds allocated by developers, for 10 years. The police department, STA and the Downtown Spokane Partnership are working together on the lease, furnishings and parking.
Woodward said the city will work to address parking concerns sparked by the precinct, with additional space possible on Wall and Post Streets.
Several city leaders also spoke about the move, including City Council President Breean Beggs, who has worked in the downtown area for 16 years. He said he perceives downtown as a safe area but recognizes the importance of public safety to residents.
“This new downtown precinct is going to allow us to be innovative. Downtown is the center of our city, it’s the center of our region and it’s even becoming a center of our state," Beggs said.
“It won’t be that long from now that we’ll be featured in some magazine saying, ‘Spokane again, leading the way,'" he added.
Woodward said city leaders toured four different locations before they decided on the former Umqua Bank building. She said the decision was made in part because it the space can be customized to fit the needs of police officers.
The police precinct will not occupy the entire building, as the 106,820-square-foot property includes room for retail and office space, Woodward said. Confluent Development is currently redeveloping the building.
InterUrban Development said in 2019 that the ground floor of the Umqua Bank building would be turned into a food hall with about 14 different places to eat. Construction was still underway as of April 2019 and developers declined to comment on the project's status.
A few weeks ago at her state of the city, Woodward said one of her top priorities was public safety, which includes better relationships with law enforcement downtown.
“We are delivering on our commitment to move our downtown precinct back into the core of our city,” Woodward said.