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Posts tagged: historic preservation

The auto row building saved by compromise

In today's paper, I wrote about the proposed demolition of two historic buildings on Spokane’s storied auto row, part of the conceptual master plan by the Larry H. Miller Group to build a large downtown campus for its auto dealerships.

The buildings to be razed are, without question, historic. The building on the southeast corner of Madison and West Third was built in 1937, and its neighbor at 1023 W. Third Ave, was constructed in 1913. Both meet the 50-year age eligibility requirement for the National Register of Historic Places. But as Megan Duvall, the city's historic preservation officer, said in today's story, the building's aren't really architecturally significant. In other words, they're kind of boring.

The decision to remove the buildings came after Duvall realized she could use a provision in the city’s demolition ordinance allowing for the razing of historic buildings as long as their destruction supported the rehabilitation of an adjacent historic structure.

It's that structure - the International Harvester Company Truck Showroom built in 1929 at 1030 W. Third Ave - that has historic significance as one of the few remaining and unique buildings left on the old automotive row. The row is technically called the West Downtown Transportation Corridor Historic District, and its period of significance stretched from 1890 to 1949. 

The photo at the top of the post shows the Harvester building the year it was completed. Besides how intact the building remains to this day, what's most interesting to my eyes is the huge rock outcropping to the building's east. How'd they get rid of that mountain? Was the rest of downtown marked with similar rocky protuberances, much like how the South Hill remains?

The images below show how the Miller Lexus showroom changed as a result of its dealings with the city and Duvall. Representatives from the company called the compromise to rehabilitate the Harvester building in exchange for demolishing the other two buildings “workable,” but said the process leading to the compromise was “frustrating” because it forced the company to change its designs for a new Lexus showroom.

Instead of obscuring the Harvester building under the metal veneer of a new Lexus showroom, the company now will include the original building in its designs for the showroom. The metal siding has been replaced with limestone and brick in the designs for the new addition.

 

House Panel: Use Heritage money for MAC

OLYMPIA — A House panel voted narrowly this morning to combine several arts and heritage programs into one “mega-agency” and provide money for the Museum of Arts and Culture from a fund set up for a planned Heritage Center in Olympia.

On a 6-5 vote, the House State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee approved HB 2033, a bill that creates a Department of Heritage, Arts and Culture from an array of existing programs. It would place two state historical societies in the new department, as well as the MAC and the State History Museum in Tacoma, as well as the Heritage Center and a fund created from a special fee on documents filed with county auditors.

Gov. Chris Gregoire's budget proposes cutting funding for those two museums so significantly that the two facilities will be closed to the public and only have enough staff to maintain their collections. The House Democrats' budget proposal keeps the museums open by tapping the Heritage Center fund.

Rep. Jeannie Darnielle, D-Tacoma, said the bill represented one of the tough choices facing the Legislature: “We have to choose between our existing agencies and museums or look to something new.” It would change the Heritage Center fund to a heritage fund that maintains existing museums and arts programs across the state.

Republicans on the panel objected. “We're creating a new agency when reforms should be going the  other direction,” Rep. Gary Alexander, R-Olympia said. When the House GOP introduces its alternative budget later today, it will propose a way to keep the Spokane and Tacoma museums open without tapping the Heritage Center money, he added.

One Democrat objected, too. Rep. Mark Miloscia, D-Federal, said the bill merely rearranges the agencies rather than focusing on processes and people. “Setting up a new department just doesn't send the right message to the public,” he said.

Employees of the new department would remain members of their current collective bargaining units and keep their contracts. Republicans lost on an amendment that would have cancelled the current agreements and required what Rep. David Taylor, R-Moxee, called “a clean look at those contracts.”

For more on the committee action on bills involving the 2012 presidential primary, the Public Disclosure Commission and the state printer services, go inside the blog.

Council gives OK to demolish Spokane’s Piggly Wiggly warehouse

The Spokane City Council on Monday gave the green light to tear down two 85-year-old downtown warehouses.

The city already has a demolition permit for the historic structures, which sit on the southeast corner of Riverside and Division, but the land is owned by Washington State University.

The council voted 6-1 to approve an agreement that transfers the land to the city, clearing the way for the buildings’ removal.

The warehouses are the former homes of Western Piggly Wiggly, a grocery chain based in Spokane that later was bought by Safeway, and Ryan Fruit Co. Earlier this year, downtown developer Dan Spalding unsuccessfully tried to persuade the city and WSU to save at least one of the buildings.

City administrators say that the buildings are in the way of the proposed extension of Riverside Avenue, which will be called Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Eldon Brown, Spokane’s principal engineer of developer services, said construction of Riverside and demolition of the warehouses is expected to start around Oct. 1.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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