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Office Hours

How Walt Worthy made it easier for INHS to get into the Wells Fargo Tower

Friday's major downtown Spokane business story was the culmination of two building takeovers: the 17-story Wells Fargo Tower and the six-level Holley Mason Building. Both buildings gained new owners.

The bigger deal was the acquistion of the rest of the Wells Fargo Building by INHS, the nonprofit medical services provider that was originally hatched as a jointly supervised organization serving both Empire Health Services and Providence Health (Sacred Heart).

On Friday INHS took over the last 74 percent of the Wells Fargo Building. In 2009 it had acquired 26 percent of the building.

Now for some history: Walt Worthy, who bought the tower from the ashes of Metropolitan Mortgage and Securiities in 2005, made it easy for INHS to get into a good lease at a time when INHS was struggling to find adequate downtown office space.

In 2005 INHS was working out of two buildings, the Holley Mason and the Steamplant. But it needed more room as it continued to grow.

That year Worthy — who also owns the downtown Davenport Hotel — helped form a condo association for tenants of the Wells Fargo. During that process INHS agreed to a long-term lease that let INHS move in to the tower. 

That lease was signed just before Worthy sold the building to Prium Spokane Buildings, a Tacoma-based developer. The lease included an INHS option to purchase the leased premises which covered about five floors of the entire building.

Three years later, when the option came up, INHS paid $9.4 million to Prium for the portion of the building it was leasing.

Last week's credit bid, in which INHS took over the remainder from Prium, was brokered by NAI Black's Chris Bell. The price was about $16 million.
  


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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.

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John Stucke John Stucke is a deputy city editor who helps build local news coverage and writes about health care, bankruptcy and rural affairs.

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