Where is the new stadium located?
The new stadium is being built on the North Bank of Spokane between Howard and Washington Streets Dean Avenue, adjacent to the Spokane Arena and Spokane’s new indoor sports plex (The Podium).
What are the advantages to building the stadium downtown?
For the same construction investment SPS would have made to build a new stadium at the location of Joe Albi Stadium in Northwest Spokane, a downtown stadium will save the District significant money – more than $25 million – in operations and maintenance expenses with the Spokane Public Facility District operating the stadium. Not only that, but a recent study found that a downtown stadium would generate $11.4 million in positive annual economic impact for Spokane, versus only $1.3 million if the stadium were to remain at Joe Albi location.
The central location provides increased accessibility, particularly for students, being right in the center of Spokane’s high schools for better proximity, as well as having access to bus routes and other public transit options.
By being located downtown, this stadium creates significant economic impact by drawing tourism, supporting our local businesses, and creating jobs. Maximizing the use of this public asset and attracting a professional soccer team would have only occurred in a central urban location.
What about parking?
Parking and traffic congestion are always a concern in dense urban areas. Downtown Spokane is situated in a way that another major concern is too much surface parking that sits vacant most of the year.
This proposal includes the stipulation that parking for high school football and soccer games, and any other Spokane Public Schools events held at the stadium would be free of charge to students and families.
In downtown roughly 1,700 parking spaces are managed by the PFD with an estimated 2,500 within walking distance. Most STA bus routes currently run through downtown, providing an already existing public transit option. With the addition of City Line in 2022, regular east/west transit will travel through downtown from Browne’s Addition on the west to the Community Colleges on the east, City Line will run to 11:00pm daily.
Who will manage the stadium?
Spokane Public Schools is building the new stadium in collaboration with the Spokane Public Facilities District (PFD). When completed, the PFD will operate the venue and the United Soccer League will invest in the project and become an anchor tenant, outside of school use. Spokane Public Schools will use the stadium for all high school football and soccer games and be able to use it for other special purposes at no cost to the district and with free parking for all SPS events.
Who is designing and building the stadium and when will it be completed?
Designed by ALSC Architects and built by Garco Construction of Spokane, the stadium project is being managed by Spokane Public Schools and is scheduled to be completed by fall 2023.
What is the economic impact of siting the stadium downtown, as opposed to the northwest location?
A study commissioned by the Downtown Spokane Partnership found that a downtown stadium would generate $11.4 million in positive annual economic impact for our city, versus $1.3 million if the stadium were to remain in Northwest Spokane. You can find the full Economic Impact Study here.
When SPS isn’t using the stadium, the PFD will schedule professional sports, concerts, and other events, providing entertainment and another positive economic boost for our community.
Didn’t an advisory vote recommend the northside location for a new stadium?
The 2018 ballot included a non-binding advisory vote, issued by the City of Spokane. The City asked residents whether they preferred the new stadium be built on the existing site in northwest Spokane, or on property owned by the Spokane Public Facilities District next to the Spokane Arena and what’s now the Podium sports complex. The residents who voted showed a preference for rebuilding at the Albi site. At that time, plans for a downtown stadium location were very preliminary and parking availability was unclear.
Because the advisory vote was issued by the City of Spokane, it was sent only to voters who live within city boundaries. That means more than 10,000 SPS residents who live in Spokane County were unable to vote on this advisory measure, and roughly 5,000 Cheney and Mead school district residents who live within City boundaries were able to cast a vote about the SPS stadium location, even though they don’t contribute to the district’s bonds.
Why didn’t the school board follow the recommendation of the advisory vote?
After the 2018 advisory vote, the school board was approached by the Downtown Spokane Partnership, which proposed the district partner with the Spokane Public Facilities District (PFD) and build the stadium downtown where the PFD will take over operations and maintenance. The new proposal showed that by doing this, Spokane Public Schools would save more than $25 million dollars over the stadium’s projected 50-year lifespan.
In 2021, SPS launched a survey to the community that shared more details about the plan, including the concept of free parking for SPS events. A majority of participants expressed overwhelming support for the downtown location.
The board was faced with a difficult decision: Take the path advised by the city’s ballot advisory measure or save the district millions of dollars. The board ultimately decided that the downtown site was the fiscally responsible choice.