October 5, 1997 in Nation/World

New Day For Schade Developer Has Ambitious Plans For Former Brewery

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Businessman Mark Leonard has big plans for one of Spokane’s historic buildings.

Leonard bought the Schade Brewery, 528 E. Trent, last month and plans to transform it into an eclectic marketplace, like Seattle’s Pike Street Market or Quincy Market in Boston.

Several restaurants and about 50 antique dealers and gift shops operate on the cavernous building’s first floor, but much of the building is in shambles. The roof is caving in. Pigeon droppings litter upper floors, and staircases are too shaky for customers.

Leonard has crews at work changing all that.

He plans to transform the aging brewery into Schade Towers, with classy restaurants, upscale office space and shops galore.

He envisions a fifth-floor rooftop glass-enclosed restaurant - the best in town. He’s looking for a world-class brewery to set up shop in the dungeon-like basement. The sixth floor tower, about 900 square feet of space, will become “the most high profile office in town,” Leonard said.

He also sees the Schade (pronounced: shah-DAY) becoming home to coffee shops, florists, newsstands, a bookstore and fruit vendors.

Copying the designs of several retail buildings in Portland, Leonard is planning a glass-enclosed, open-air walkway around three sides of the Schade building, where marketplace vendors will tempt strolling customers. Elevators and escalators will carry customers from the building’s basement to its lofty tower.

The brewery is located across the street from the Riverpoint Higher Education Park and Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute (SIRTI). It’s also not far from Gonzaga University.

Leonard said once his building is filled with fun things to do and great places to eat, it will naturally attract the college crowd.

“This is the No. 1 historical and architectural beauty in town,” said Leonard, who bought the building four days after seeing it.

Leonard is from Spokane, but moved to the West Side just before high school. He was headed to Spokane for a visit when his sister-in-law called. She said her favorite old building was up for sale and urged him to check it out.

He toured the Schade on a Friday, and walked through again on Saturday. On Monday, he flew in an architect friend from Portland who also examined the building and said it is structurally sound.

The next Tuesday, Leonard bought the building in a trustee sale. He did not disclose terms of the purchase.

“I came through Friday night. I came through Saturday morning. And I said, ‘It’s a deal.’ The building just needed someone with some horsepower,” Leonard said.

Leonard says he has that. A longtime business developer, Leonard also has started and sold several businesses, including Pro Mark, which makes hip and chest waders, Shoreland’r Boat Trailers and Rhino International Diesel Tractors.

Leonard plans to spend at least $3 million renovating the Schade building. That doesn’t include the possibility of adding other buildings or a parking garage in the future.

Leonard’s land stretches from Trent to the Spokane River, with the brewery building in between. Areas behind and in front of the building will be paved for parking.

He said his financing, a combination of bank loans and personal cash, already is in place, but he’s waiting for the city to approve various parts of the project.

The city has delayed doing that because some of Leonard’s project hinges on the re-routing of Trent Avenue. If it goes through, Leonard might receive more space for future phases of his project. The city is waiting for a state environmental review of the Trent re-routing proposal before it makes any business decisions, said Charlie Dotson, the city’s planning director.

The best way to experience Leonard’s plan is to tour the Schade with him and see the cavernous, 94-year-old building’s potential through his excited eyes.

The first floor will continue to house restaurants and an antique market, but Leonard plans to expand the space, making it brighter and adding food vendors and seating.

He wants to give the first floor a “student lounge” feel, to appeal to the college campuses nearby.

Going upstairs in the brewery is tricky now, with narrow, rickety staircases and debris littering the floors. Despite the mess, it’s easy to see the potential of a second-floor room. It has beautiful rounded picture windows overlooking the college campus and Spokane River.

Tucked away off main rooms are smaller rooms, some still labeled “Fermenting Cellar,” “Hops Cellar” or “Storage Cellar G” from the building’s brewery days.

In each of those areas, Leonard sees a shop or an office, enticing customers to explore.

In contrast to the above-ground rooms, the basement spaces are dank, dark and gloomy. But Leonard plans to light them, re-pour the floors and make them into office spaces, meeting rooms and, especially, a brewery and restaurant.

“You can see where it’d really fit. This is the right idea for kids,” Leonard said, standing where he envisions the brewery. “They like this kind of deal.”

Leonard’s dramatic plans extend beyond the building as well. Next door is an underground train tunnel, built in the early 1900s. When the railroad was extended eastward in 1912, Bernhardt Schade, the building’s owner, refused to give up his property to let it pass through. He set a $1 million price on his land, which the railroad refused to pay, according to historical documents. So the railroad dug an underground tunnel beneath Schade’s property.

The city of Spokane owns that tunnel, but Leonard said he would love to acquire it and convert it into part of his entertainment complex, perhaps a nightclub.

Leonard is not sure how quickly new parts of the building will be finished and open to the public. He hopes to complete renovations of the first floor, including a glass-enclosed atrium out front, by year end.

“A lot of how quick this will be ready is determined by the city and getting the right vendors,” he said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos (1 color)

MEMO: See related story under the headline: Former Spokane brewery long on history, potential

See related story under the headline: Former Spokane brewery long on history, potential

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