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Spokane Considers Tax Incentive to Redevelop Downtown Parking Lots

It's an idea that has already had some success in Philadelphia: give developers a tax abatement on projects that achieve some desired end, in this case fewer surface parking lots.
November 19, 2017, 9am PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Paul Sableman

Several city leaders in Spokane, Washington want to do something about downtown's overabundance of parking lots. Their idea, Nicholad Deschais writes, is simple: "offer developers a 10-year break from taxes on any project they build on what is now a surface parking lot. It could be a residential tower or an office building. It could even be a parking garage."

We've seen something similar in Philadelphia recently. But the Washington legislation is still "far from assured. Its path is complex, and even if it does become law, it's unclear if it will stoke development at all." If passed, the bill would apply to Washington cities with populations between 150,000 and 250,000, bringing Tacoma and Vancouver (WA) into the fold. 

In another piece on Spokane's plan in Streetsblog USA, Angie Schmitt writes, "In the very center of Spokane, right at the core of downtown, there are few surface parking lots — it's mainly garages that would be unaffected by the tax abatement. But [Andrew Rolwes, public policy and parking manager for Downtown Spokane Partnership] told Streetsblog USA the policy could be transformative for the 'next tier out from the downtown core.'"

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Published on Monday, November 13, 2017 in The Spokesman-Review
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