Spokane Journal of Business

Dave Black to prep South Hill site for big retail development

Grading project will make way for big store, records show

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Spokane developer Dave Black has filed an application with the city of Spokane to start grading work to prepare a site for a future retail center to include a big box store and smaller retail outlets on a 15-acre site on the South Hill.

The site, located at the southeast corner of the Regal Street-Palouse Highway junction, consists of two adjacent parcels of land known collectively as the Southgate retail site, where Black has sought for a number of years to woo Minneapolis-based Target Corp. or another big-box retailer as an anchor store.

The city is reviewing the application to see whether it passes muster under the Washington state Environmental Policy Act, although a notice of the SEPA application says the city likely will determine the project poses no significant environmental impact, pending agency and public comments.

Black, a prominent Spokane real estate broker and developer, is the managing partner of Dave Black Properties LLC, which owns the properties. Black refers to the future development as Regal Place in the SEPA application.

He couldn't be reached immediately for comment, but in a recent inquiry about the property prior to the SEPA submittal, he told the Journal, "I'm working toward a deal, but I don't have a deal to talk about."

He said then that he was optimistic that development negotiations with a national retailer would culminate this year.

"I'm hopeful," Black said. "It depends on how we do with the city on a number of issues."

While the SEPA application doesn't mention Target by name, it says grading would be performed in preparation for a project "to include construction of a retail store of 135,000" square feet.

Ultimately, the project also would include additional retail space totaling 6,000 square feet and a 750-space parking lot, the application says.

In 2008, the Spokane City Council restricted developments at that site and two other 15-acre potential retail-center sites in the vicinity to include only one big box store with more than 100,000 square feet of floor space on each site.

In the case of the Black property, the Council placed a maximum size limit of 135,000 square feet for a Target store that Black had been pursuing. Otherwise, the maximum store size would be 105,000 square feet there.

The SEPA application says the major retailer would open in 2014, and smaller buildings would be constructed as market conditions allow. When fully developed, up to 300 people are expected to be employed at the site, the 11-page application says.

Grading would begin in May and would be completed by October, the application says. Grading would involve filling portions of the property with 25,000 cubic yards of material and removing 50,000 cubic yards of material from other portions of the property.

Piersol Construction Inc., of Airway Heights, is listed as grading contractor. Pacland-Seattle PC is the civil engineer, and Budinger & Associates Inc., of Spokane Valley, is providing soils engineering and geologic services.

No structures are on the site. A long-vacant house and outbuildings that had been there were demolished in December. While the job title on the demolition permit was "Demo house and out buildings for future Target," Black said at the time that the deteriorating structures had been attracting vandals, and demolishing the structures was the most economical means to address the city's concerns about them.

The Regal Place site would be the first of three largely vacant, 15-acre commercial sites in the vicinity to be developed subject to an integrated site plan, which limits the number of large retail stores allowed in the vicinity.

The other sites are owned separately. One, known as the KXLY property, is located on the west side of Regal, just south of the Spokane Youth Sports Association's South Complex at Regal and 46th Avenue. The other property is just southeast of the Shopko store at 4515 S. Regal, on the north side of the Palouse Highway, where Atlanta-based home-improvement giant Home Depot Inc. at one time had considered putting a big retail store.

Mike McLean
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Reporter Mike McLean covers real estate and construction at the Journal of Business. A multipurpose fisherman and vintage record album aficionado, Mike has worked for the Journal since 2006.

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