Developing Affordable Housing and Shared-Library Facility in Northeast Spokane with Thrive International

In partnership with Spokane Public Library, Thrive International will develop at least 45 units of affordable housing on a 1.62-acre lot at 6980 North Nevada Street, a vacant property that the Library has owned since the 1990s. In addition to housing, the development will feature public event and learning space operated by the Library as well as a playground, greenhouse, and a 24/7 Library kiosk. 

Half of the units of the affordable housing will be reserved for refugees, with the other half open to the general population. This mixed-income model aims to foster greater understanding between new Americans and long-term residents. The Library will manage the public event and learning space as part of the more than 40 public event spaces available at seven other locations and will program free community education events.

“This is a win-win situation,” said Spokane Public Library Board of Trustee, Danielle DeJaegher. “We are able to develop a vacant property that the Library has owned for decades—and has proven difficult to develop—and we’re turning it into greater use for the entire community. We’ll be able to bring Library services, like free access to meeting space and a Library kiosk, to an underserved neighborhood of Spokane. All while helping to combat Spokane’s affordable housing crisis and create a welcoming home for newly arrived refugees.”

“The new housing development in northeast Spokane will allow us to provide comprehensive wrap around services to ease the transition for refugees, with a focus on self-sufficiency and permanent housing within two years,” said Dr. Mark Finney, Director of Thrive International. “Onsite services will include healthcare, job training, language classes, and social services, all coordinated by Thrive.”

“Our partnership with Thrive International will allow us to bring more Library community space to another region of Spokane without asking voters for more tax dollars, and with the added benefit of adding affordable units to the local housing inventory,” said Andrew Chanse, Executive Director, Spokane Public Library. “Based on the success of The Hive, on East Sprague, and the usage of our event space at our other locations, we know that Spokane residents are seeking accessible free space to gather, engage, and belong to a community.” 

Public-private partnership to create co-located Library spaces and housing has been done successfully in other cities, including New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago. However, this is the first known library-private partnership that will provide housing for refugees and the first housing partnership in Spokane.  

At the March 19, 2024 Library Board of Trustees meeting, trustees voted to sell the Nevada Street to Thrive International for a nominal fee in exchange for a no-cost 50-year lease of the community space, garden space, and space for the 24/7 Library Kiosk. The project is powered by Courage Housing, who is supporting financing and investment. Initial site improvements will begin in spring 2024, groundbreaking is expected in late 2024, with opening expected in 2025.