Office Hours

Can Spokane's city council delay or halt the Jensen-Byrd building demolition?

The Jensen-Byrd building in the University District east of downtown Spokane will be demolished by its new owners, Austin, Texas-based Campus Advantage. The company plans to build housing for about 425 students on the site. (File)
The Jensen-Byrd building in the University District east of downtown Spokane will be demolished by its new owners, Austin, Texas-based Campus Advantage. The company plans to build housing for about 425 students on the site. (File)

Spokane's City Council is likely next week to vote on a resolution about the Jensen-Byrd Building, being sold by WSU to a Texas firm, Campus Advantage.

The old building, once a central warehouse along the city's main rail yard, has become a cherished icon for historic preservation advocates. They view the plan by Campus Advantage to demolish the building as short-sighted. 

Campus Advantage has said it has looked at restoring the building but has concluded the structure is not easily and affordably convertible to a modern student housing complex, which is the plan for the Jensen-Byrd.

While the council is free to pass any resolution it wants, it doesn't have final say on what happens. According to the city's laws, Campus Advantage can apply for a demolition permit if its shows it will build a similar building in the same  spot. 

The request by Campus Advantage to move forward with demolition would have to go through the city's building department.

The council's resolution, as currently worded, urges WSU and Campus Advantage to reconsider the plan and look for ways to either build a high-density student apartment complex elsewhere. Or review the demolition option.




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Tom Sowa
Tom Sowa covers technology, retail and economic development and writes the Office Hours blog.




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