Expect Something Wonderful is the marketing line for Spokane’s River Park Square. And for that city’s residents accustomed to shopping downtown, delivery on that promise is set for Aug. 20, the grand opening of a $110 million, three-block retail and entertainment center.
“This was really about how do we keep the Bon Marche and Nordstrom downtown,” explained Elizabeth “Betsy” Cowles, grand-daughter of the founder of Spokane’s media and downtown property empire. Her father attracted the first Nordstrom store outside Seattle just in time for EXPO ’74, but that 25-year lease was due to expire.
Despite 15 suits and numerous political challenges, the Cowles and the Spokane City Council persisted on the project that will add 20 AMC movie screens, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor and other stores to downtown—and keep Nordstrom and The Bon there as well.