October 23, 2004 in Business

Met Center hotel plans shelved

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Davenport Hotel owner Walt Worthy has abandoned the idea of turning the 17-story Metropolitan Financial Center into a hotel.

Worthy said he’s looking instead at building a five-to-10 story hotel with parking on the vacant lot at First and Post, which is a block to the west.

Worthy bought the 178,000-square-foot building at 601 W. First in August and immediately speculated that he might turn it into a hotel. He thought an additional 150 to 200 hotel rooms there would create “synergy” with the Davenport just down the street.

The white tower was sold as part of Metropolitan Mortgage and Securities’ bankruptcy filing. Worthy bought the $12 million note on the building from previous lender, IDS Life Insurance, but declined to say how much he paid.

Worthy now says turning the Metropolitan tower into a hotel wouldn’t work because it’s too far from the Davenport. But the 25,000-square-foot lot on the southeast corner of First and Post — which he paid $1 million for as part of the Metropolitan deal — is a block closer.

Worthy said the Davenport is frequently full and could use additional hotel rooms nearby. “We were full last night,” he said Friday. “We’re full tonight.”

As for the Metropolitan building, Worthy said he plans to lease it out as office space. He said he’s working with a “big tenant” who he wouldn’t name that may lease up to 40,000 square feet, almost four full floors.

Worthy also is planning to build a parking garage behind the Metropolitan building to serve the office tower. That land now houses a courtyard, picnic tables and a loading dock.

Also in those plans are removing the trees along First Avenue and extending the front of the building closer to the sidewalk with a glassed-in atrium. Worthy also plans to change the color of the building to a “warm, tan tone.”


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