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Churchill’s Steakhouse to reopen at same site

Shut down for more than a year due to a fire, downtown Spokane eatery Churchill’s Steakhouse will start rebuilding next week, owner Bill Alles said Tuesday.

Smoke and water damage shut down the 7,000-square-foot restaurant, at 165 S. Post, after a July 2008 fire of unknown origin started in the business next door, Dorian Studio.

Alles said he intends to reopen the high-end steakhouse – minus the grand piano in the center of the main floor – in December.

While the Churchill’s site – usually referred to as the Joel building – remained structurally sound, the former Dorian Studio building next door, at 161 S. Post, has been razed.

Alles owns the steakhouse as a separate business condo within the Joel building.

The second and third floors of the building are owned by The Lofts at Joel’s LLC.

That partnership, which includes Spokane architect and developer Ron Wells and others, had planned to develop 16 residential condos above the restaurant.

Wells said he hopes to announce plans soon for resumption of work on the building’s top two floors.

“We will announce plans once we finish working out arrangements with the banks,” he said.

Between Alles and the limited partnership, three insurance companies were involved in sorting through replacement costs, said Wells.

While Alles’ insurance will pay for the restaurant construction, the partnership companies will cover the costs of a new elevator, electrical panels and other building fixtures.

The restaurant work will include replacing the bar in the lower level of the two-level restaurant, Alles said.

His main floor will be mostly the same except for replacing the piano with a bank of private wine lockers.

Alles couldn’t say what the partners’ cost of rebuilding will be. He estimated the interior rebuilding costs will approach $600,000.

Furnishings and replacing other personal property might add another $200,000, he said.

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