Spokane Indians baseball team owner Bobby Brett and investor Chris Batten have purchased the historic Dutch’s building at 415 W. Main. The partners say they plan to restore the early 20th-century building and fill it with retail tenants.
The sale is a bittersweet occasion for former owners Mary Singer and Rick Singer, her brother-in-law. The building has belonged to the Singer family since the 1960s.
They decided to sell it following the death earlier this year of Mary Singer’s husband, Gary Singer. He was 66.
The sale price was $479,000.
“I’m happy that Bobby Brett wants to restore the building,” Mary Singer said. “He’s got a good plan for it.,” she added.
Rick Singer, who runs a photography studio on the building’s upper levels, will remain in the building with a 10-year lease.
Until this fall, Dutch’s Inc. had operated as a pawnshop and music instrument store for decades. Gary and Rick's grandfather started the Dutch's business in 1915 on the same block. His son moved Dutch's to its current site in the 1960s.
“I think it’s a great building with a storied history,” Brett said. His sports company also owns the Spokane Chiefs hockey team. Brett has purchased other area properties as investments.
He’s collected historical photos of the building from the early 20th century that document how part of the building hosted a basement speakeasy during Prohibition and later became the Durkin and Ulrich saloon and card room. That Ulrich was Bill Ulrich, who in the 1930s was part-owner of the Spokane Indians, Brett noted.
A factor in Brett and Batten’s decision to buy is Spokane hotelier Walt Worthy building a 15-floor convention center hotel nearby, across from the Spokane Convention Center.
But even without that large hotel project nearby, Brett said he would have looked seriously at buying the property.
After restoring the building Batten and Brett plan to lease the main level to a retail tenant.
“I’m pretty sure once we tear off the false ceilings we’ll find a really great building,” Brett said. “We’ll make it as close to its historic nature as we can.”