Spokane Journal of Business

New phase planned at Blue Heron

$13.5M development includes18 home lots

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Blue Heron, a residential subdivision off Indian Trail Road north of the Spokane city limits, is launching its next phase of development with 18 new lots.

The lots range in price from $140,000 to $200,000, and Blue Heron developer Pete Rayner says he anticipates values of homes to be built there to start at $750,000, giving the current phase of Blue Heron a potential built-out value upwards of $13.5 million.

Each lot is about three-quarters of an acre. They front on Regina Lane, an interior road that connects to Indian Trail Road, about four miles north of the Indian Trail Road-Francis Avenue junction.

Located in the unincorporated county, the land is zoned as what’s referred to as Urban Reserve. That designation allows one lot per five acres of gross property, but it permits a developer to cluster homes on smaller lots, as long as the clustered lots are smaller than an acre each and the balance of the land remain undeveloped until conditions allowing for further development occur, Rayner says.

The urban growth area boundary is about a quarter of a mile south of the Blue Heron lots. 

Eric Tucker, of John L. Scott Real Estate, is the selling agent for the development.  Rayner says the lots are being marketed to direct-lot buyers who want to hire their own builders and also to builders looking to construct on speculation or directly for clients. He says he suspects, though, that the bulk will be buyers, as they have already had two buyers for the gated community.

The customer base, he says, likely will be divided between empty nesters, those who might desire a smaller space or minimum concept home, which for Blue Heron is in the 1,800-square-foot range, and young professionals with families who will require more living space in the range of 2,500 to 4,000 square feet.

Rayner says the new lots constitute the fourth phase of Blue Heron. Larger lots to the north were developed before the Great Recession. Those properties typically have assessed values in the $800,000 to $1 million range.

Rayner claims Blue Heron, which is served by the Mead School District and also is near St. George’s preparatory school, will help meet demand for view property with lots large enough for homes with a three-car garage and a “toy shed.”

The surrounding nature and views, Rayner stresses, add to the appeal of the area. Most of the lots provide views to the north, with a couple of lots providing nearly a 360-degree view. 

“It’s a really special place,” says Rayner. “Everybody that sees it is absolutely shocked at how beautiful it is any time of year. I’ve lived here for 30 years.”

Rayner’s initial plan for Blue Heron involved the Golf Links golf course, with homes neighboring the links. He sought approval in 1999, but Spokane County commissioners rejected that proposal. 

According to Rayner, the only way the golf course would have made sense financially is if he got the platting that went along with it approved, but county commissioners ended up turning that down.

In 1991, when Rayner purchased the property, he explains, Spokane had agreed to annex all of it into the city. Soon after, in 1992, as Rayner was ready to go forward, the GMA (Growth Management Act) was adopted in the county. The city added an urban growth boundary and left the property outside of that boundary. 

Rayner says he had an attempted solution that didn’t receive approval, and he didn’t revisit the initial project after that. 

Rayner also owns the 206-acre Beacon Hill residential community comprising of 206 acres overlooking East Spokane. He started Beacon Hill Catering and Events there in 1997, where he still serves as co-owner with his daughter and co-owner, Ellie Aaro.

Alla Drokina
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Before Alla started as a reporter with the Journal in 2019, she freelanced for The Pacific Northwest Inlander mostly covering culture and food. A breakfast enthusiast, she appreciates the simple things in life like cozy nooks, mystery podcasts, and 90s sitcoms.

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