July 13, 2007 in Business

Here’s the dirt: High-end steakhouse close to done at former Joel’s site

By The Spokesman-Review
 

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Here’s the Dirt is always looking for news about construction projects, business openings and other events. Contact Melodie Little at (509) 459-5513 or melodiel@spokesman.com.

After several months of construction delays and glitches, a high-end steakhouse that’s being built in the former Joel Inc. building could open in August.

Churchill’s Steakhouse will have a members-only cigar room and sell entrees starting in the $20 range and rising to about $50, said Bill Alles, principal partner in the restaurant.

Crews are finishing hardwood and adding crown molding at the steakhouse, which is being constructed at 165 S. Post St. in a building designed by Kirtland Cutter.

The 100-year-old brick structure housed Joel, a Spokane specialty store, for nearly 40 years. The restaurant opening was planned for April, but problems with designing and engineering improvements to the inside of the old building created challenges.

“There were a number of different holdups,” Alles said.

Work is also under way on the residential condo portion of the building. The condo units will likely be sold as shells, said Ron Wells, an architect who is developing the project with his wife, Julie, and his partners, Bill Main Jr., Sarah Leverett-Main and Brian Main.

Crews are working on the underground parking and installing an elevator while also making upgrades to a stairway and corridor, Wells said. New electrical and plumbing are also being installed.

Prices will depend on the bids that come back from potential subcontractors, he said.

The building will likely have 13 to 16 units when completed, Wells said, adding, “We don’t have the final pricing yet for what we’re doing on the upper floors.”

The project was scaled back from finished units to shells largely because of an increase in construction costs, he said, and the cost of carrying an expensive condo development insurance mandated by the state.

NorthTown store opening

Torrid, a store specializing in trendy clothing in sizes 12 to 26 is opening in the former GAP Inc. location, on the second floor of NorthTown mall.

Leslea Warnick, marketing manager for the mall, said the shop will take up about a third of the suite. American Eagle Outfitters is expanding and will take over the rest of the former GAP.

Torrid is based in City of Industry, Calif., and has more than 100 stores nationwide, according to the company’s Web site. The store sells a mix of apparel, shoes and accessories. Half the products are private label, with well-known brands, such as Paris Blues and Dickies making up the other half.

Panda close to opening

A Panda Express restaurant that’s being built in the former Schuck’s Auto Supply building on 29th Avenue should open in early fall, said Brandon Richards, project manager for Yost Mooney & Pugh, the contractor.

Schuck’s moved into a suite farther down the parking lot in Rosauers Plaza. The former parts store, owned by Black Enterprises, is being revamped into a 5,000-square-foot complex that will house several businesses, Richards said.

Panda Express will occupy about 2,000 square feet of space. Oasis Hair Co. is opening a third salon in the complex, a Realtor representing the project said, and the other retail space may be leased by a national pizza franchise.

Those businesses are also expected to open this fall.

Pizza company expands

The owners of Pizza Rita recently opened a new store in leased space inside Mary Lou’s Homemade Ice Cream in Spokane Valley.

This is the fifth store, and the first Valley location, for the locally grown business, which is owned by Brian and June Dickmann.

Another Pizza Rita recently opened in the Lincoln Heights shopping center and is owned by former longtime employee Brett Wyatt and his wife, Teresa.

The outlet operates as a separate business under a license agreement with the Dickmanns’ company. It has the same menu as the other Pizza Ritas but may later expand to offer other dishes, Brett Wyatt said.


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