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South Hill B&B up for sale

A Spokane bed and breakfast popular for garden weddings is headed for the auction block early next month.

Hannah’s Garden Inn, on Seventh Avenue above Deaconess Medical Center, will be auctioned by Higgenbotham Auctioneers International Ltd. Inc. on March 3. The live, public auction will be held inside the property’s historic structure, the Corbet-Aspray House, with a minimum bid of $1.3 million.

The couple that owns and operated the mansion, Shawn Nichols and Ann Marie Byrd, want to pursue more time with family after putting in long hours running the business, Nichols said. They previously listed the 30-room inn, complete with furnishings, equipment and supplies, for $2.5 million in July.

The business closed after the holiday season, and Nichols looked for other avenues to sell. The inn employed 20 at its peak, and it had been profitable, he said.

“If I had a unique, restored antique automobile or some unique historic art or jewels, probably the way to go about selling those would be to hook up with Sotheby’s,” Nichols said. “That’s kind of an analogy that struck me to pursue this.”

A Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau member, the business appeared “well-received and well-used,” said bureau President and CEO Harry Sladich.

“Hannah’s Garden Inn was kind of more the unique getaway, the secluded venue where you found something very intimate,” Sladich said. “They’re leaving with a very good reputation, and I think that bodes well for its continued success.”

Nichols believes the property is worth $2 million to $2.5 million after extensive renovations, which he estimated cost at least $500,000. In 2005, the couple added a commercial kitchen and opened the restaurant Delaney’s Musicafe.

“There’s really not a surface in the house that’s remained untouched by us over the years,” Nichols said.

Lakeland, Fla.-based Higgenbotham Auctioneers is marketing the inn nationally, said Earl Williams, auction manager. Auctions can speed the process of selling, he said.

“With us being an international firm, with these unique properties, we do some research and find some niche markets that we feel we need to advertise in,” Williams said.

Nichols and Byrd bought the property in February 1999 for $355,000, public records show. The couple named the inn and restaurant after their children: Hannah, 10, and Delaney, 3.

Built in 1908, the mansion was designed by architect Kirtland Cutter, known for his work on The Davenport Hotel. The 8,210-square-foot building has five guestrooms.

Nichols estimated more than 250 wedding ceremonies and receptions have been held in the property’s gardens.

“In this sort of an operation, if you care, you’re there,” Nichols said. “So we were here.”