Spokane Journal of Business

Shadle Center owners rekindle upgrade plans

Baker named to build new Rite Aid store, signaling redevelopment of aging center

  • Print Article

After several years of planning and a change in ownership, work at Shadle Center finally is expected to start in April on the first part of a redevelopment project that the centers current owners hope will spark new life at the languishing retail center in northwest Spokane.

We expect a lot of exciting changes within the next six months. Our goal is not to let the center continue to decay, says Jim Towslee, part owner of P2J2 Shadle Associates, the Seattle-based investment group that owns the 320,000-square-foot shopping center located south of Wellesley Avenue between Alberta and Belt streets.

The first bit of work there will include construction of a 16,800-square-foot retail building that will be occupied by Camp Hill, Pa.-based Rite Aid Corp., the big drug-store chain that recently absorbed the PayLess chain through its acquisition of Wilsonville, Ore.-based Thrifty PayLess Holdings Inc.

Rite Aid already operates a 26,000-square-foot store at Shadle Center, but will move that outlet into the new building, which will be located along Wellesley, west of a McDonalds fast-food restaurant there.

The new structure is to be developed by Nicholson Investment Property Inc., a Seattle company that develops buildings throughout the Northwest and leases them to Rite Aid. Brent Nicholson, owner of Nicholson Investment, says his company plans to buy the 1.5-acre site needed for the new Rite Aid store from P2J2.

The building, which will include a small garden center and a drive-through window for prescriptions, is expected to be completed this summer. Rite Aids current Shadle Center store, located in the southwest portion of the center, either will be leased out to a new tenant or demolished, says P2J2s Towslee.

Nicholson declines to release the cost of the Rite Aid project. Baker Construction Inc., of Spokane, is the general contractor on the project, and Mulvanny Partnership Architects PS, of Seattle, designed the building.Shadles revitalizationThe Rite Aid project signals the possible beginning of a revitalization plan thats been talked about for years at Shadle Center, the 26-acre shopping center that has struggled over the last two decades to compete with retail developments on the citys North Side.

The only remaining major tenants at Shadle, which hasnt been upgraded substantially since it was built in the early 1960s, are a Safeway Stores Inc. supermarket, a Lamonts Apparel Inc. store, and the Rite Aid store. The center lost two other anchor tenantsErnst Home Center Inc. and J.J. Newberry Co.last year, and earlier had lost J.C. Penney Co. as an anchor. A portion of the former Ernst building now is occupied by Liquidation World Inc., a discount retail chain. The former Newberry building remains vacant.

Three years ago, the city of Spokane approved a preliminary site plan for a multimillion-dollar upgrade of Shadle Center proposed by Century Properties Fund XI, a California-based company that owned the mall at the time. Those plans were put on hold in 1996 when South Carolina-based Insignia Financial Group came into the ownership picture. Century Properties later sold Shadle Center to P2J2 for $6.6 million.

The original preliminary site plan called for considerable demolition work, including razing the J.C. Penney space in the middle of the malls main retail strip, as well as the Safeway supermarket on the western side of the center and about 20,000 square feet of smaller retail space.

The plan called for construction of a new Safeway store on the former site of the J.C. Penney store, a 20,000-square-foot retail building or theater complex near the southwest corner of the shopping center, a 16,500-square-foot building just west of Rite Aids current building, three smaller buildings on retail pads along Wellesley, and other additional retail space throughout the center.

Towslee says the general scope of those plans remain the same, with the exception of the new plans for a Rite Aid store along Wellesley. Development of that new store will require other small changes. The Rite Aid store will be built on a site the original plans had earmarked for a possible bank branch.

To compensate for that change, plans for the 16,500-square-foot retail building that was to be built west of Rite Aids current store have been scaled back to a 3,900-square-foot building, according to amended plans filed by P2J2. The plans still call for two small retail pads along Wellesleyone of them just east of a Chevron station in the northwest portion of the center and the other between McDonalds and the new Rite Aid store.

Towslee says P2J2 is negotiating with a host of possible tenants in the new center, but declines to name them.

Bernardo-Wills Architects PC, of Spokane, is representing P2J2 in the local regulatory process and is the architect on the project.

  • Chad Cain

  • Follow RSS feed for Chad Cain

Read More

Sign up for our E-mail updates

including the
Morning Edition

Join our list