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New owner will update U.S. Bank Building

Fri., Feb. 29, 2008

The new owner of the U.S. Bank Building in downtown Spokane has hired a Portland-based interior design firm to give parts of the historic building a makeover.

Jennifer Adams Design Group may redesign the 16-story building’s east entrance, two main lobbies, conference rooms, restrooms and other areas, according to the company. Owner Mara Gateway Associates LP, a Bainbridge Island, Wash.-based group, planned the changes when it bought the building in August, said Lisa Clark, asset manager.

“We just wanted to do some updating and some upgrading,” Clark said. “Primarily, our focus is going to be on the lobby area.”

Mara Gateway hopes work will start in the next two or three months. The partnership bought the 160,000-square-foot building through an affiliated limited liability company for $17.6 million.

Tenants include U.S. Bank and several law firms.

Built in the early 1990s for Old National Bank by Chicago architect and early urban planner Daniel Burnham, the glazed terra-cotta building resembles his work in the Windy City, the design group points out.

“When we design a commercial space, one of the main factors we always look at is overall durability, design and cohesiveness,” Jennifer Adams said in a statement. “This building is also very unique because of the many sky bridges and large number of people who pass through the building daily. Our design plan will certainly be respectful of the building’s era and architectural beauty.”

Bi-Mart headed for Deer Park

Members-only discount retail chain Bi-Mart Corp. has purchased land for a roughly 30,000-square-foot outlet in Deer Park.

The Eugene, Ore.-based company recently opened a store in Cheney and had been looking for a Deer Park location for more than a year, said Chris Bell, an associate broker with NAI Black.

The company will begin construction as soon as possible, he said.

Bi-Mart paid about $366,000 for the 3.36-acre parcel of land at 412 S. Main St., public records show.

Founded in Yakima, Bi-Mart has more than 1 million members and about 3,000 employees at 66 stores in the Northwest, according to the company.

A Bi-Mart representative could not be reached for comment.

Valley Mustard Seed closing its doors

After more than 20 years serving Asian-style cuisine in Spokane Valley, the Mustard Seed will close its Sprague Avenue location March 16.

Owners hope to reopen the restaurant, 9806 E. Sprague Ave., at a larger Valley site, said Dave Hall, co-owner. A larger outlet can translate into more weekend business, which makes a difference over a year, he said.

“We just decided that we want to find a spot to build a bigger restaurant, something more similar to our NorthTown mall store,” Hall said.

Owners sold the roughly 3,300-square-foot building to Boise-based WinCo Foods LLC late last month for $750,000, public records show. The grocery chain also purchased two adjacent parcels and plans a store on part of the property.

Traffic to the Valley Mustard Seed dropped after Sprague became one-way, Hall said.

“Ever since then, we’ve never really built back the volume that we’d had,” he said.

Hall hopes to persuade Valley employees to work at the NorthTown Mustard Seed or the company’s three Noodle Express locations.

“We’ve got room for anyone who wants to come to the other stores,” he said.

New Skippers going full-service

The Coeur d’Alene couple who brought Skippers back to Spokane plans to open a full-service restaurant on North Division Street.

Pat and Marion Fuller hope to open the restaurant in a former Denny’s, 4903 N. Division, late this month. While diners can expect familiar Skippers fare, such as fish and chips and clam chowder, the restaurant also will have linguini dishes, steaks and sandwiches, Marion Fuller said.

“It’s still a quick service, but it is a sit-down service,” she said. “We’re kind of excited about trying a little bit more extensive menu.”

No item will cost more than $14, she said.

She expects the restaurant to employ about 20. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Greek restaurant replacing Meritage

The sons of the former owners of a Greek restaurant in Coeur d’Alene are opening their own eatery in downtown Spokane.

Peter and Jim Tsakarestos hope to open Santorini Greek Cuisine in early March. They purchased the assets of Meritage Bistro, 112 N. Howard St., said Sally Tsakarestos, wife of Peter.

Constantin and Fotini Tsakarestos are retired after opening the Olympia Restaurant in Coeur d’Alene about a decade ago, she said.

Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Santorini will offer “100 percent authentic Greek food,” including gyros, spanakopita, hummus and Greek lemon soup, said Sally Tsakarestos.

The restaurant will seat about 46, she said.


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