The Inland Northwest witnessed a frenzy of construction and development activity in 2006 (and we hope the fun isn't over yet). While most of the proposed projects have yet to break ground, clearly our little neck of the woods has been discovered. We have therefore given some thought to the Top 5 Trends and Predictions that will play out in our region over the next twelve months. At first read, it's a tall order, but we think a good number of these have a pretty good chance at happening. We'll get back to you in 12 months..
- Major Employer - With the increasing interest in Spokane and downtown in particular, we feel that 2007 will be the year for a large employer to locate somewhere in the Central Business District. Partly wishfull thinking, this employer excludes all national retailers. We're talking someone who will bring in around 100+ jobs.
- New Development - Much of the development to date has focused on re-use or redevelopment of existing structures. With this inventory nearly depleted idle lots will be getting more scrutiny. No fewer than "5" new buildings will be announced for downtown. This excludes Kendall Yards, and includes teardowns and vacant lot conversions.
- Going Green - Seeking to differentiate their buildings and provide a better return, green buildings will be on the rise. Developers will increasingly market their commitment to the environment through LEED certifications, green roofs, etc.
- Lower East-End - 2006 saw only the beginning for this area of the
CBD. The momentum continues in 2007, and the Lower East-End will
solidify its position as Spokane's Indie Neighborhood. This will mean
more local smaller niche shops, restaurants and businesses. It may
also include expanded living options that offer alternatives to the
pricey condo-or-nothing development we've seen to date downtown.
- Design is King - More and more, people will grow weary of the
talk related to new condos. 2007 will see an emphasis on urban
design. As more development becomes the norm downtown, people will
become less accepting of development that violates the Three Rules.
New development will be scrutinized on what the buildings 'bring to the
party' in terms of design and how they enhance/relate to Spokane's urban fabric.
Kendall Yards will help raise the bar dramatically.