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SPOKANE, WA-Real estate developers in Washington’s key markets have been shelving new construction plans as the economy and the country hold their breath. Further to the east, Downtown Spokane waits to see if it’s largest office project now on the boards will find its way to steel and concrete as planned.

Riverside Centre, a 512,700-sf office-and-retail tower had been making its way toward a ground breaking — fueled by an office market somewhat healthier and less impacted by high-tech fallout than other areas around the country. That was before Sept. 11.

Jerry Hagood is the co-founder and now consultant to Kiemle & Hagood Co., project manager and pre-leasing agent for the 18-story tower. Hagood cites what he calls “buzz words” from Alan Greenspan that “a lot of companies seem to be disengaged in terms of planning their future.” Says Hagood, “There’s no question it’s (the war on terrorism) slowed up the pre-leasing process. No prospects have left us, but no one seems quite as anxious to plan long term looking at what’s going on.”

Nonetheless, those involved with the $50-million project are doing their best to keep it going.

“We’re still targeting the third quarter of 2004 for opening,” says Hagood, adding,” We could break ground as late as October 2002 and accomplish still that.”

Riverside Centre is an enterprise of long-time Spokane landowner K. Wendell Reugh and what Hagood describes as “his family entities.” Other reports had rumored an anonymous partner outside the family, but Hagood disputes the reports.

“He’s (Reugh) had two or three people interested in participating, but at this point there’s no offer being extended or committed to,” Hagood says.

The 45,000-sf site takes up the majority of the 54,000-sf city block bounded by Howard and Stevens Streets and Riverside and Sprague Avenues. The ground floor of the building is to contain 23,000 sf for retail, atop which will be constructed 5-1/2 floors (or 193,000 sf) of parking. Above that, the 232,000 sf of office space will begin. Altogether, Hagood says the tower will rise 18 floors, excluding a mechanical storehouse at the very top.

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