South Perry District begins to boom despite recession - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

South Perry District begins to boom despite recession

SPOKANE, Wash. - Spring is in the air on Spokane's lower South Hill bringing the promise of the beginning of a business boom in one neighborhood despite the heavy toll of the ongoing economic recession. The South Perry Neighborhood is saying goodbye to one long-time business, a victim of the recession, even as it prepares to welcome several new ones.

The owner of the Altamont Pharmacy, a Perry Street mainstay for nearly a century, is moving out of the district and into the Safeway Pharmacy at Southeast & 29th. The reason - a combination of old age wearing on owner Art Tyrell and fears of increasing rent and decreasing revenue because of the recession. The space occupied the Pharmacy will likely be developed within the scope of a Spokane city project aimed at bringing back fading neighborhoods.

A combination of funding through grants and facilitating zoning changes through that City of Spokane Planning project and Spokane's Business & Development Department are making it more attractive to live and work in South Perry. The Center & Corridors Project is aimed at revitalizing decaying neighborhoods and promoting mixed-use development that will bring "employment, shopping, and residential activities into shared locations". It employs public funding in order to bring back historic districts and in turn attract increase private investment.

In the South Perry Neighborhood this work has included streetscape improvements including new pedestrian level street lighting and new trees along city streets. The community is also attracting new visitors and trying to tap into consumer spending with warm weather outdoor activities like summertime outdoor films projected on an outside wall of one building and a Thursday farmers market during July.

The subject of recent media attention including an article in The Inlander, these improvements have attracted a number of new businesses including a new bar set to open later this month. Jeff Nordvall and Laura Paisley's Lantern Tavern will occupy the space where the Soda Shop formerly did business. KHQ cameras were there while the partners worked on the bar itself where they hope Perry residents will soon congregate - and spend money. Nordvall and Paisley are just two of the new entreprenauers hoping to tap into $31 million in consumer cash that currently makes its way out of the district and into the coffers of businesses elsewhere in Spokane.

According to Perry Street Cafe owner and South Perry Neighborhood Association President Geoff White big things are on the way for the District. Asked about the fears of opening a new business in the midst of a recession White says within every dark cloud there is a silver lining.
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