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Posts tagged: WSU Spokane

Council may ask WSU to save historic warehouse

A historic building slated for the wrecking ball could get a friend in the Spokane City Council.

Late last year, Washington State University-Spokane announced it would sell a 102-year-old warehouse called the Jensen-Byrd building so a development company could tear down the brick building and erect student housing.

Last month, the city-county Historic Landmarks Commission determined the building is eligible to be placed on historic registries. That will create procedural hurdles for tearing it down, but doesn’t prohibit demolition as long as a new building takes its place.

On Monday, the Spokane City Council will consider a non-binding resolution requesting that WSU reconsider the decision.

Councilman Steve Salvatori, co-sponsor of the resolution, said the structure is sound. 

“It could be an iconic, signature part of the campus,” Salvatori said. “It could be the most iconic, signature landmark on that campus.”

OFM: Spokane Med School not on list

OLYMPIA – A new medical school building in Spokane is not on the list of large construction projects being proposed by Gov. Chris Gregoire for the next two years, a group of government and business leaders from Eastern Washington was told Wednesday.
Marty Brown, the state’s director of the Office of Financial Management, told Spokane-area residents in the capital on a lobbying trip that the proposed Riverpoint Biomedical and Health Sciences Building, with its $70.8 million price tag, was a good project that didn’t make the list for the proposed 2011-13 Capital Budget sent to the Legislature.
The governor’s long-term capital spending plan doesn’t have new money for a WSU-Spokane Health Sciences Building through the year 2021.
Community representatives said they were told the building came up number six on a list that took the top five. An analyst at OFM put it a different way: Because of the state’s decreased debt capacity, the state isn’t proposing money for any major projects in higher education above $40 million.
The Capital Budget is the source of money for major construction projects. Unlike the general fund operating budget, it relies on bond sales for the money to pay for its projects. But its size is tied to the operating budget and the state’s ability to repay the bonds.
Brian Pitcher, chancellor of WSU-Spokane, said he didn’t regard the news from OFM as a rejection of a Spokane med school, because Brown described it as a good project.  Rather, it’s a sign that local backers will need to work to build legislative support.
Rich Hadley, president of Greater Spokane Inc. which helped arrange the trip to Olympia for its chamber members and local government officials, said they will meet with legislators around the state to stress the need for more doctors to keep up with the state’s growing population.
Because the Capital Budget is typically approved near the end of a legislative session, supporters still have nearly three months to make their case.

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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