Saturday, November 5, 2011

Historical rail line leaving for good

The remnants of an abandoned rail line in Coeur d'Alene fades into the vault of history this week.
A Chicago company began tearing out about three miles of a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. line that has run through Coeur d’Alene for 100 years.
Crews from C&C Track Works, hired to removed the rails, ties and spikes are converting the line to a gravel railbed.
Crews can remove about a mile of rail in a day, according to an article in the Spokesman Review.
BNSF has federal approval to abandon six miles of rail line between downtown Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls, and part of it — from Garden Avenue south to City Park — now belongs to the city of Coeur d’Alene.
The land reaching into the Riverstone development on Northwest Boulevard, reverts to the federal Bureau of Land Management and then, through a planned land swap, is expected to be transferred to the city’s urban renewal agency for use as part of the education corridor, according to the article.

More here:

Ralph Bartholdt
Agent Keller Williams Coeur d'Alene

Mi casa and meatloaf

The Casa de Oro on Highway 95 in Coeur d'Alene will soon serve meatloaf sandwiches.
The menu change follows on the heels of a change in venue.
Simply put, the Mexican fare is being replaced by hubba bubba home cooking, according to Matthew Behringer and his Inland Business blog.
Matt also writes about two Coeur d'Alene Tribe projects:

"The Coeur d Alene Tribe is wrapping up one project and in mid-project on another on their reservation near Plummer and Worley. The one that is basicly done is The Gathering Place Apartments, which is affordable apartments for Tribal members.The other is a new bus barn for the partial tribe owned Citylink bus service which is the city bus service in Kootenai County and part of Benewah."

His blog also tells that West Corp., which provides customer service call centers for several large companies at two Spokane locations, will be hire 250 more employees for its downtown Spokane center. Applications  are online at

Follow Matt's blog at

Ralph Bartholdt
Agent Keller Williams Coeur d'Alene

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rathdrum reduces building fees

Rathdrum council members agreed to chop a chunk of change from the city's steep impact fees making it easier to build in this edge-of-the-prairie community.
Imposed on new construction, the impact fees are used for a variety of city services including park maintenance and to defray the cost of operating its police force.
Council members agreed to cut $782.97 from the cost of building a single family home, the Rathdrum Star reports in an Oct. 26 front page story.
Without impact fees the cost to mitigate the impact of new construction would fall on current taxpayers, according to The Star.
In other communities the fees are usually used to maintain utilities, or to "buy in" to a public utility, such as a water treatment, or sewer plant that other residents are already paying for.
In Rathdrum, contractors must add $2,957.25 to the cost of a building permit to construct a single family home.

For more of this story go here:

 Ralph Bartholdt
Agent Keller Williams Coeur d'Alene

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Super view, Lake Coeur d'Alene, in Harrison Idaho, main street

I can tell you that local lore tells that One Shot Charlie, Harrison's premier bartender and the namesake of the local watering hole, once lived in this house.
There were many other occupants since the house's construction around 1900: School superintendents, doctors, college professors and families of mill workers.
I can't vouch for any of it, but if you spend enough time in Harrison, Idaho, the lakeside town that was once the biggest community on the lake, sporting several sawmills, a theater and terraced walkways, and you talk to old timers and historians at the Crane Museum, you will invariable feel at home here, and learn tidbits of this town's past.
This house has an unrivaled view of the lake.
On a corner lot, the Trail of The Coeur d'Alene's bicycle and walking trail, and Lakefront Ave. is the only thing that stands between the porch and the best sunsets in Idaho.
It is a 4 bedroom 1 bath house, two stories with a kitchen, family room and a woodstove for heat.
The home is built on rock and wood beams, so there is no traditional foundation, but the present one has lasted more than a century and feels sound underfoot.
The home is used as a family summer retreat, in this summer family-oriented resort community.
Owners are asking $139,000.
Come take a look.

Ralph Bartholdt
Agent Keller Williams Coeur d'Alene

Keller Williams expands overseas

Keller Williams Realty, the second largest real estate company in the United States, is exploring options for international expansion in Singapore.
‘Some may wonder why we’ve chosen now to take Keller Williams Realty worldwide, considering the state of the real estate market, and our answer is simple: momentum. Our model continues to provide a platform for growth and profitability despite the market,’ said Mark Willis, chief executive officer.
‘We have experienced unparalleled growth and technological innovation over the past five years and this signifies the next logical step in the growth as a company,’ he added.

The full story is on Property Wire, here:

Ralph Bartholdt
Agent Keller Williams Coeur d'Alene

Fall decor, Hayden neighborhood

                                                     Corner of Ramsey and maple/Ralph Bartholdt

                                                    Golden days of truckin'/Ralph Bartholdt

There is a lot of color covering the pavement of many North Idaho neighborhoods this week.
The falling leaves come just in time for the forecast to call for a dusting of snow.

Ralph Bartholdt
Agent Keller Williams Coeur d'Alene

Home sales up; prices down

There seem to be a lot of mixed messages in the real estate market nationwide as well as locally.
According to a recent article in the Journal of Business, home prices are falling, yet sales are on the rise.
This seems to be the general formula, and has been for at least 12 months.
Home sales in neighboring Spokane have shown three consecutive months of improvement since the home buyer tax credit expired more than a year ago, according to the Journal.
That could mean that the downturn in the market has bottomed out, according to Rob Higgins of the Spokane Association of Realtors.
One of the reasons for increased sales could be the number of foreclosed homes and distressed properties that remain on the market with more of them being classified daily, according to the report.
More REOs and short sales "continue to pressure prices downward," Mike McLean of the Journal writes.
The Spokane area saw a third-quarter increase in home sales of almost 15 percent. Sales in the first nine months combined grew 6.5 percent.
"If we stay in this trend, we could be headed back up," Higgins said.

For more of this article visit:

Ralph Bartholdt
Agent Keller Williams Coeur d'Alene

North Idaho town gets facelift

At a cost of $1 million in grant money, Spirit Lake got new sidewalks and a new Maine Street/ Ralph Bartholdt

 An informal survey last year showed that the majority of people who visited Spirit Lake, Idaho - a small gem of a town  perched at the edge of its namesake lake - spent their time and money along the HWY 41 corridor and didn't venture into the heart of town.
The heart of town for most people who have been here is known for its few bars and the parked motorcycles in front of them leaning in fleetlike-like array as if at a hitching post.
In addition to a couple of eateries, a smattering of storefronts lined the town's cracked sidewalks and crumbling buildings.
This summer, though, a hefty $1 million makeover prevented tourists and passers by from accessing downtown.
Equipment beeped and groaned as workers dug, pounded and finished concrete while the former Maine Street disappeared and a new one formed.
The streets and sidewalks were replaced, and the work has left the town with a new, cleaner feel.
Whether the upgrades will funnel more business downtown is food for thought.
And local residents are taking seconds.
"I'm not sure if it will make a difference in the economy or attract people to downtown," area resident Chuck Gruenwald told the Coeur d'Alene Press.
Others think the improvements will attract visitors.
 "We believe this will bring more tourism to our area," said Jeanne Bruner, president of the Spirit Lake Chamber of Commerce.
What goes unsaid is that other towns in similar predicaments - the disappearing of their tax base as the timber economy is shut down and sent elsewhere - haven't fared better despite main street upgrades.
St. Maries, 80 miles to the south, and the ever famous Potlatch, Idaho two hours away, are precious examples.
Having said that, Spirit Lake is still a great place to visit, buy some pottery at Sondahl's local shop, have a cup of Joe at the Books and Coffee and stop by the gift, second-hand and ice cream shops downtown.

For more of this story go here:

Ralph Bartholdt
Agent Keller Williams Coeur d'Alene