February 23, 2006 in Business

Diocese sells shelter center

By The Spokesman-Review

A building where hundreds of children and young mothers found shelter and care over the past 60 years has been sold as part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane’s bankruptcy case.

The former St. Anne’s Children and Family Center at 707 N. Cedar was sold at a bankruptcy auction on Feb. 1. Nancy Santschi-Apodaca, of Spokane, submitted the winning bid of $501,000. She said she plans to renovate the building into office space with hopes of attracting a law firm.

“I think this is a no-lose situation because it’s right across the street from Kendall Yards and three blocks from the courthouse,” she said. “As the area progressively rehabs, I think there will be more attorneys that want to be in the area.”

Santschi-Apodaca is not the only one speculating on real estate in the environs of Kendall Yards. Developer Marshall Chesrown plans to build the “urban village” of 2,600 residences and 1 million square feet of commercial space on 77 acres just to the south. At a December speech at Gonzaga University, Chesrown said that since he bought the property last January, the percentage of rental properties in the adjacent West Central neighborhood has risen from 57 to 80 percent. That’s evidence of the real estate speculation that’s already taken place, he said.

The old St. Anne’s building was assessed at $426,800 in 2006, Spokane County property records show. One other bidder competed with Santschi-Apodaca for the building, offering up to $499,000 before conceding to the winning bid.

Santschi-Apodaca said she plans to put new windows into the building and clean the brick façade. However, she said, the building has been well cared for and has an elevator and sprinkler system. It’s been empty since October 2004, when the children and family center moved to a new building at 25 W. Fifth Ave.

Originally constructed in 1903 as a private residence, the building was given to the Spokane diocese in 1943 by the Collins family with the request that it be used to care for children, according to a history compiled by Bonnie Deabler, the last director of St. Anne’s in the Cedar Street location.

Over the years the building served as a daycare, a transitional home for unwed pregnant women, a home for sick children and a place for respite care. In the early 1980s, St. Anne’s began collaborating with Spokane Public Schools to provide private speech and physical therapy for children, according to the compiled history. In 1985 the building became home to the Childbirth and Parenting Alone (CAPA) program, which provides parenting, counseling and childbirth instruction to single pregnant women.

Santschi-Apodaca said she would like to place a commemoration of the building’s history of service to children and families in the entry.

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