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Posts tagged: jensen-byrd building

City of Spokane officially revokes demo permit for the WSU Jensen-Byrd Building

Those folks who battled to save the old and historic Jensen Byrd Building had their main victory last month when Campus Advantage decided to fold up and dropped plans to tear the building down. The company had signed an agreement in late 2010 with WSU to tear down the brick building and replace it with a multistory campus housing structure.

This week the next shoe fell, even though few “heard” the impact.

On Tuesday the City of Spokane officially concluded the process of revoking the demolition permit that had been issued to a demo firm hired by Texas-based Campus Advantage. The initial plans to tear down the building might have started as early as this past summer if opponents hadn't filed appeals challenging the validity of the demo permit.

The revocation at this point is mostly a symbolic moment; since Campus Advantage had already backed out of the deal.

But there was still some time left for the parties involved, including WSU, to appeal the city's permit revocation. That deadline for the revocation appeal was Oct. 10.

In any event, the status of the old warehouse building near downtown is this: WSU still owns it. WSU has the right to sell it to anyone, and even decide to demolish it if it wants to (with some conditions attached).

As of last month, WSU's position was holding pat and waiting.  Spokane developer Ron Wells has continued trying to convince WSU officials that he has a viable development plan, that would include commercial and residential units.

City hearing on Jensen-Byrd building demolition postponed until October

Update on the Jensen-Byrd building and plans to demolish it (see earlier story).

The City of Spokane's Hearing Examiner's office has postponed today's scheduled hearing, which was to hear an appeal by opponents of Campus Advantage, the Texas firm planning to tear down the structure and replace it with modern student housing. The opponents, Spokane Preservation Advocates, contend the issuance of the demolition permit is not valid.

The advocates filed the appeal earlier this year. This week the group and Campus Advantage agreed to postpone the hearing until Oct. 17, at 9 a.m.  Until the hearing is held, Campus Advantage cannot move forward with plans to tear down the industrial warehouse, which has been unused for several years.

Can the preservationists save the Jensen Byrd Building? What’s next?

Haven't seen enough information about the Jensen Byrd building and its prospects for survival?

Look for our indepth story in Tuesday's Spokesman Review business section, covering efforts to keep it from the wrecking ball

This past year the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation added the 103-year-old JB Building to its Most Endangered list. Here is some information. http://wa-trust.org/News34.aspx.

That follows last December's announced sale of the building to Campus Advantage, which has plans to replace it with modern student housing.

The Jensen Byrd was also nominated for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2012 Most Endangered list, but it was not selected; the national most-endangererd list was published this past week:  http://www.preservationnation.org/issues/11-most-endangered/

The national organization said it declined to add the Jensen Byrd to the list because statements by Washington State University, who is still the owner, suggest it won't face demolition until no earlier than 2013.

Jensen Byrd building not likely to be demolished until next year

When we last left the Jensen-Byrd saga, the historical preservationists were forming a posse, trying to figure out a way to hijack the former downtown Spokane warehouse and hide it somewhere on the Palouse, to keep it from being torn down.

The Texas-based company that wants to tear it down, Campus Advantage, was trying to obtain the needed certificates to move forward with a slow-motion, brick-by-brick demolition. They intend to replace the JB with a modern student housing structure designed for the 21st century.

And how will it play out? 

It appears it's going nowhere for now. A recent WSU Spokane Bulletin says the building (not yet deemed a historic building) is on life support for about a year. Barb Chamberlain, who works for WSU, is the author of the bulletin item saying the sale won't close until 2013, citing the WSU Real Estate Office.

Chamberlain said the original deal is being held up because of extended timelines to obtain permits. 

If all the permits come together and Campus Advantage hasn't moved onto something else, the plan is to break ground next year and move students in in 2014. The goal, according to the buyer, is to house about 460 residents in the new building.

WSU’s sale of Jensen-Byrd building lands on ‘Heritage Turkeys’ of the year

Crosscut, a Puget Sound online news publication, listed its 2011 Heritage Turkeys, a list of notable examples of communities and groups failing to maintain historically relevant places.

On the list was the Washington State University decision to sell the Jensen-Byrd building in downtown Spokane. That decision was reported at Spokesman.com the day after the sale was announces.

Crosscut columnist Knute Berger singled out the Jensen-Byrd deal as especially notable since the National Trust for Historic Preservation next fall will hold an annual conference in downtown Spokane.

He quotes Chris Moore of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation saying: “WSU had an opportunity to really be a preservation hero. Instead there will be a hole in the ground where a National Register-eligible building once stood.”

WSU in its defense said the buyer will build a new structure with plenty of housing for students using the area's University District. 

Texas firm buys Jensen-Byrd property, plans Riverpoint student housing

A Texas company has purchased the Jensen-Byrd building and property at the Washington State University Spokane site and plans to convert it to student housing and possible commercial space.

The buyer is Campus Advantage, based in Austin. The purchase for $2.85 million was approved Tuesday by WSU regents via a phone conference.

The Jensen-Byrd property covers about 1.5 acres on the west end of the Riverpoint campus, east of downtown Spokane. An appraisal set the value of the 35,173-square-foot complex at $2.9 million. (This figure was listed as $2.1 million in earlier versions, and came from a 2001 appraisal. The newer appraisal was done in 2011.)

The property has three components: the original structure built in 1909, an addition made one year later, and a metal storage shed added in the 1970s. The structure has been vacant for more than 10 years.

The university tried twice in recent years to find a partner to develop the building, without success.

A WSU Spokane press release said Campus Advantage has built and manages student housing on or near university campuses in 21 states.  A Riverpoint Campus Master Plan notes that the area of the Jensen-Byrd building is suitable for housing and mixed uses.

Archive photo shows Matt Cohen, a Spokane historic preservation advocate, near the Jensen-Byrd building.

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