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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.

Good news if you like custom brews: CDA Brewing Co. folks move to Spokane

Today's major brewing-business story is the announcement by the Gages and the Wellses to open River City Brewing, essentially a Spokane version of its popular Coeur d'Alene Brewing Co.

The daily story is right here.

We were challenged to add extra information, so here it is, compliments of Gage Stromberg, who will help run the show with his brother Spencer, and his parents, Ron and Julie Wells, in the Eldridge Building, on the west edge of downtown Spokane.

A former brewer at Coeur d’Alene Brewing, Cody Ragan, will become the new head brewer for River City.

The company will do just keg beer to start, but will have smaller kegs and growlers available for purchase at the brewery. That is planned for Fridays, from 3 to 6 pm.  The family owns bottling equipment but is not planning to set it up yet.

While the SteamPlant owners have in the past produced two of the CDA Brewery favorites, that won't continue, said Stromberg.

“No one else has the right to make our beers, or use our names/labels, etc.,” he said.

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 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. 

The Joel Building retains a piece of the past

The partners developing the Lofts at Joel, at 165 S. Post, in downtown Spokane, have told the previous owner they will take care to preserve some of the building’s history.

They bought the building from the Ferris family, whose patriarch, Joel Ferris, gave the building the locally memorable title, the Joel Building. The original design for the three-story building was done by noted architect Kirtland Cutter.

This photo of the south exterior wall shows the sign that hung on the building for years, until the retailer shut its doors in 2005.

Developers Ron Wells, Bill Main and Bob Anderson told the Ferris family they’ll place that Joel sign, complete with red apple inside, as a memento. They plan to install it to a wall in the basement garage.

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

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Alison Boggs (@alisonboggs) Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on and its social networking accounts.

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Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

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