Spokane Journal of Business

PFD nears agreements for One Spokane Stadium

Trio of anticipated accords with school district needed before soccer-teams deal can be inked formally

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-Karina Elias
The new stadium takes shape near the Spokane Veterans Memorial Area in Spokane’s North Bank neighborhood.

Contracts for operational use of the new Spokane Public Schools-owned stadium, One Spokane Stadium, are nearing completion, with a goal of formalizing that arrangement by Aug. 1, says Stephanie Curran, CEO of Spokane Public Facilities District.

Once the PFD signs its agreements with Spokane Public Schools, she says, it then will be able to execute an agreement with USL Spokane.

Curran says the PFD simultaneously has been negotiating its contracts with Spokane Public Schools, the primary tenant of One Spokane Stadium, and USL Spokane, which will host professional men and women’s soccer matches at the venue, located at the southwest corner of Boone Avenue and Washington Street, just north of downtown Spokane.

“The plan is to get the school district documents done by the beginning of August,” says Curran. “Then, ideally the USL contract would be ready to go, and we could get both sides (done).”

The PFD is a municipal corporation that also operates the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, the Spokane Convention Center, the First Interstate Center for the Arts, and The Podium Powered by STCU. It currently is negotiating three separate contracts with Spokane Public Schools: a land-lease agreement, a parking agreement, and a building operation agreement, says Curran.

The PFD owns the land on which One Spokane Stadium is being constructed, says Curran. The land lease will simply be an acknowledgment of use, she says.

For Spokane Public Schools football, soccer, and other events, attendees will receive free parking, while other events not hosted by the school district will be charged, says Curran.

In all, she estimates there will be about 2,000 parking spaces available.

The building operation agreement will detail the responsibilities the PFD will have regarding maintenance and operation expenses.

As part of their agreement, the PFD will absorb the new stadium’s expenses, which Curran estimates could be between $300,000 and $500,000 a year.

“That saves (Spokane Schools) quite a bit of money over the 50 years of the life of the agreement. They won’t have any maintenance or operational expenses,” says Curran.

To that end, the PFD has invested about $3 million into building concert infrastructure into One Spokane Stadium that includes a loading dock, a stage, chairs, a floor to cover and protect the turf, sound, and light equipment, says Curran.

“Our plan is that we make money on the concerts and (other events), then that’s how we’ll cover the losses from the school district,” says Curran.

The PFD also will share profits from revenue generated from USL Spokane soccer matches, says Curran.

“We’ve been hashing things out back and forth for the last few months and we’re pretty close there,” she says.

Curran says that, although the PFD has tenant contracts at other venues, like the Spokane Chiefs at the Spokane Arena, it has never operated a stadium and outdoor venue, which has raised questions during the contract negotiations.

“We’re trying to figure the financial pieces,” she says. “We don’t have any history so it’s tricky … but things are definitely moving forward, and I would say that deal should be done within the next couple of weeks.”

As previously reported in the Journal, in March of 2021, the Downtown Spokane Partnership and the United Soccer League announced a proposal for a new 5,000-seat stadium to be built on Spokane’s North Bank, replacing Spokane Public Schools-owned Joe Albi Stadium in northwest Spokane.

Two months later, Spokane Public Schools approved the North Bank site for the replacement stadium and began construction of the $38 million facility in September of 2021. One Spokane Stadium is located between Howard and Washington streets, south of Boone Avenue and just north of the Podium Powered by STCU. Completion is expected in early fall of this year.

Last week, Spokane Public Schools board approved the name “ONE Spokane Stadium” as the official stadium name, capitalizing “ONE” to show unity between Spokane public schools and other entities involved in the naming process.

Last November, Spokane natives Ryan and Katie Harnetiaux were introduced to the Spokane community as the USL Spokane’s club owners. The couple’s ownership entity for the club, Aequus Sports LLC, will have three teams: a professional men’s team, a professional women’s team, and a women’s pre-professional team.

While a formal agreement is still in the works, USL Spokane has been making several key announcements over the last couple of months, including the addition of more Spokane-based club owners like real estate developers Jordan and Whitney Tampien and Spokane couple Joe and Katie Herzog.

In May, USL announced Spokane will be one of several cities to host a team in the newly formed USL Super League, a professional women’s soccer league.

On Friday July 21, USL Spokane will announce the name of the USL Spokane’s men’s soccer club and reveal the crest, or logo, for the club.

Karina Elias
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Reporter Karina Elias covers the banking and finance industry. A California native, she attended the University of California at Santa Barbara. Karina loves salsa dancing, traveling, baking, cuddling with her dog, and writing creative fiction and non-fiction.  

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