Plans have been submitted to the city of Spokane for a proposed 120,000-square-foot Wal-Mart store at Shadle Center on Spokanes North Side.
If the project proceeds as expected, the new development would give the aging retail complex a much-anticipated facelift and potentially convert it from a sleepy community shopping center into a more contemporary-style power center with broader geographical reach.
The project finally would give Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. a second Spokane-area store and a location on the North Side, something that has eluded it for more than three years.
City records indicate that a building permit for the projected $5.4 million Wal-Mart store is pending, but the city already has issued a permit for a $1 million demolition project at the 320,000-square-foot shopping center, which is on Wellesley Avenue between Alberta and Belt streets.
Demolition work is expected to begin there within two weeks, says Paul Pazooki, a Seattle businessman and partner in P2J2 Shadle Associates LLC, which owns Shadle Center. He says the project will involve tearing down all commercial space between the Lamonts Apparel Inc. store on the east side of the center and Chuck E. Cheeses Pizza restaurant on the west. Unaffected tenants, in addition to Lamonts and Chuck E. Cheese, include a Safeway Stores Inc. supermarket and a Rite Aid Corp. drug store, located in separate buildings at the west end of the center.
The space that is slated to be demolished, which previously housed a J.J. Newberry Co. store, a J.C. Penney Co. store, and some smaller tenants, accounts for about 40 percent of the space in the shopping center, he says.
Vandervert Construction Inc., of Spokane, is the general contractor on the demolition project.
Pazooki declines to identify the proposed new anchor tenant, but plans submitted for the Shadle store show Wal-Mart intends to build a store there that is slightly smaller than the 135,000-square-foot store it opened in the Spokane Valley two years ago. Plans indicate, however, that the proposed North Side store would include many of the same features as the Valley store, including a garden center, pharmacy, and snack bar.
Perry L. Butcher & Associates, a Rogers, Ark.-based architectural firm, applied for the permit on behalf of Wal-Mart just weeks after the company pulled out of a lawsuit concerning a more controversial site on the North Side.
In early March, Wal-Mart formally dropped out of the suit, which sought to overturn a Spokane County zoning decision that prevented it from building a store in a proposed 257,000-square-foot development at 11001 N. Newport Highway. That project was opposed vehemently by nearby residents who objected to the noise and traffic that the development would have generated.
At Shadle Center, rumblings of redevelopment grew stronger in early March when P2J2 Shadle Associates evicted a couple of businesses, raising questions about whether an effort to upgrade the shopping center finally was imminent.
Talk of renovating the strip mall, which was built more than 35 years ago, has ebbed and flowed for the past five years. In 1995, California-based Century Properties Fund IX, which then owned the center, submitted plans to demolish the J.C. Penney space and build a new Safeway store in its place. Those plans also called for construction of 35,000 square feet of space for either a 12-screen theater complex or a retail store and other upgrades. Those plans never came to fruition, and, in 1997, Century Properties sold Shadle Center to its current owners for $6.6 million.
Pazooki says the new plans to upgrade Shadle Center include improvements in addition to adding the big-box store, including bringing in other new tenants, but he declines to disclose details.
We have a lot of plans and want to create a cohesive shopping center, Pazooki says. The center was designed as a mall of the 60s. Its going to be more of a 90s-type shopping center now.
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