September 5, 2008 in Business

South Hill mansion up for sale

 
Rajah Bose photo

Bobby Brett’s South Hill mansion is for sale after he and his wife, Cathy, moved into a downtown condo a few months ago.
(Full-size photo)

Spokane sports team owner Bobby Brett has put his seven-bedroom South Hill mansion – one of the largest homes in Spokane County – on the market.

What would a buyer get for the $3.25 million asking price? Built in 1917 and designed by renowned architect Kirtland Cutter, the roughly 20,500-square-foot manor, 612 W. Sumner Ave., features eight bathrooms and a carriage house. It also includes a third-floor ballroom, eight fireplaces and a bowling alley. Also, former NBA and Gonzaga star John Stockton lives next door.

Brett, who owns the Spokane Indians baseball team and Spokane Chiefs hockey team, bought the home in 1994 for nearly $1.2 million, using money from California real estate investments for the $300,000 down payment.

“It was something I fell in love with right off the bat,” Brett said. “It’s a special house, and we have a lot of special memories.”

But with their 19-year-old son away at college in Southern California, Brett and his wife, Cathy, downscaled their domicile a few weeks ago. They moved into a roughly 3,000-square-foot condominium in the Upper Falls building overlooking the Spokane River north of downtown Spokane.

“In fact, I almost think our condo is too big,” Brett said. “I was really looking forward to downsizing.”

Though the owners have had a few showings, Brett acknowledges the local market for multimillion-dollar homes is not exactly hopping.

“Not many people are saying, ‘Hey, I need a home that’s 20,000-square-feet,’ ” he said. “Oh, by the way, it has a bowling alley and a ballroom.”

Seattle-based real estate Web site Zillow.com estimates the home is worth $2.69 million. Even at that price, the monthly payment would be more than $15,000, assuming a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at about 6.2 percent with 20 percent down, according to the site.

The Bretts bought the house from the George Jewett Foundation, the charitable arm of a notable local lumber family. The late philanthropist Mary Jewett Gaiser had occupied the mansion.

The house was edged out by the 31,847-square-foot Wallingford Survivors Trust home in Liberty Lake, 22815 E. 8th Ave., and the 20,349-square-foot Christie and James Walsh home, 510 S. Lakeside Drive, in Spokane, for the title of largest home countywide, according to a May 4 list in The Spokesman-Review.

The move to the Upper Falls puts Brett just a stone’s throw from the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, where the Chiefs hockey team plays.

“It’s really nice not having to get in the car,” Brett said. “It’s been a great change of pace.”

Entrepreneurial Center expands

Small companies looking for cheap, lease-free office space have more opportunities following the purchase of a second downtown building by the founder of the Spokane Entrepreneurial Center.

Steve Salvatori bought the three-story Plechner Building, 608 W. Second Ave., last month, and it already has five new tenants after only a couple days of work, he said. A California transplant, Salvatori last year established the center at another old building, 308 W. First Ave., to try to spur local business.

With more than a dozen tenants, that building has been full for months. So Salvatori began looking for a new structure to help fill what he calls “almost just unlimited” demand for Class C office space, and to house businesses on his waiting list. The 17 offices in the new building won’t require deposits and will rent for $250 to $400 a month, he said.

The building was remodeled a few years ago, and Salvatori plans to add a conference room, utilities including cable Internet and Wi-Fi, and basement storage. He expects it to fill up within a month.

Salvatori paid $740,000 for the structure, according to county property records.

Costco building

It’s been a warehouse, a Chevy dealership and one of the first Costco outlets.

But for about seven years, the 130,000-square-foot former Costco Wholesale building, 800 E. Third Ave., has been closed to the public while the membership warehouse club rode out its 25-year lease.

Owner Cip Paulsen wants to sell it for $5.38 million. He said the city made him a $4.75 million offer this spring to put its property and evidence storage facility there, and he has received an offer from another, undisclosed party.

Though the evidence storage facility remains a funding priority, with the city facing tight budgets and a bond issue proposed by Mayor Mary Verner off the table, there’s no “immediate funding source” for that deal, said city spokeswoman Marlene Feist. Also, Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick has proposed building a new facility on city-owned land elsewhere in Spokane.

Costco’s lease ended July 1, several months early, Paulsen said. Costco vacated the building when it built a larger Spokane Valley store with a gas station.

“I’m sure it’s going to sell,” Paulsen said. “People have looked at it for a lot of different uses.”

Reach Parker Howell at (509) 459-5491 or at parkerh@spokesman.com.


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