What Will the River’s Edge Development Look Like?

River’s Edge, the new development being constructed on the river side of Seltice Way between the U.S. Bank call center and Atlas Road, currently consists of 12 multi-unit apartment buildings, a large commercial rental mini storage business consisting of 5 large 2-story buildings, 2 smaller single-story buildings, RV Storage, and a front office building, and 28 single-story homes directly on the riverfront. These facilities are arrayed on almost 26 acres of land. All of the proposed uses are consistent with existing zoning, have been approved by the Coeur d’Alene City Council, and development is underway on the apartment buildings.

The currently approved development plan only provides a total of about 100’ of riverfront and is accessed from a public path that runs between the row of homes and the apartment buildings. The pathway itself, which runs from east to west, provides trail users no river views except when it traverses the two public access lots. 

But this is not how the development has to be. Later this fall, the developer of River’s Edge, Douglass Properties, will be seeking a special use permit to amend the current plan. The new plan would eliminate the rental mini-storage business and the single-family homes. Instead, the entire parcel would be used for multi-unit apartment housing, which would result in a total of 21 buildings, and increase the open space on the parcel from about 3.5 acres to just over 5 acres. 

The View from the River

If you were to travel on the Spokane River coming downstream from Lake Coeur d’Alene, 

from NIC until the eastern end of Post Falls, a lot of the property is either new development or under development. This is because the property on the north side was used by a lumber mill up until about 20 years ago.

Since the revitalization of this area started, there are a large number of new single-family homes built directly on the river, notably in Belle Rive and also in Mill River. In contrast, development along the extension of the Atlas Road and between Atlas Road is different, partly because of the topography. The relatively new Atlas Beach area is already very popular, as well as Atlas Waterfront Park. In parts of this area, direct access to the river is a bit steep, so the City has added some nice access points, where people can step down from the path to small beaches for some more private swimming. And remaining piers from the former mill site create a natural barrier keeping boaters away from the shore and from swimmers.

River’s Edge lies just west of Atlas Road. The question is: what will River’s Edge look like from the river? The answer depends on how the City Council of Coeur d’Alene votes on the new proposal. 

Looking from the river, if the City rejects the new application from River’s Edge, the development will look like Belle Rive or Mill River to the west. It will consist of a long row of the backs of private single-family homes, each with direct river access, with the homes set back 40 feet from the shore. There will be no riverfront trail and minimal public access to the river.

If the City approves the River’s Edge special use permit application you will see buildings from the Spokane River but they will be set back 80 feet from the shore behind the public trail. The landscaped public trail will preserve some of the mature trees that already dot the shoreline on this parcel, and also have new trees and shrubs planted.

The public access riverfront park portion of the development will be 40 feet wide, including a 16-foot- wide paved multi-use trail. There will be a retaining wall along the shoreline, with four separate beach access points. People can step down to a beach area from the trail, which will remain on the elevated portion. There will be a few private boat slips along the other parts of the shore for tenants to rent, and for river-goers to access the park. The trail, running along the elevated area, will have decorative railings so that people can stop and view the river and mountains opposite. Along the trail, there will be patios, seating areas, and picnic tables so people can stop to grab a bite to eat and enjoy the view.

The central feature of this riverfront esplanade will be a large, amphitheater-style patio area, with a water feature and views of the river and mountains opposite. It will be an ideal place to rest along the trail, get some respite from a busy day, spend some quality time with a special loved one, play with family and friends, or just people-watch. In addition, the entire area will be privately owned – which means that anyone who is disruptive or causing trouble can be removed immediately by on-site private security.

This trail and the new private park with public access span the entire development from east to west, and the trail will connect directly with trails on both sides of the property. Riverfront trail users can also easily access the North Idaho Centennial Trail, which means it will be a welcome destination point for locals from Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene.

We think the choice is pretty easy. It makes more sense to use this beautiful area for living, not for mini storage units, and for the enjoyment of all, not just a few fortunate homeowners. For more information about the proposal, please review the information on the website. And if you support our revised plan, please let the Coeur d’Alene City Council know that you are in favor of the proposal.