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South Hill condo project adds a taste of Tuscany

Fri., April 16, 2010

Nick Barnes and his father, Ron Barnes, have taken over the completion of the condo project at the corner of 14th Avenue and Wall Street. . (Dan Pelle)
Nick Barnes and his father, Ron Barnes, have taken over the completion of the condo project at the corner of 14th Avenue and Wall Street. . (Dan Pelle)

Developer Ron Barnes points at the stucco-covered walls of the newest seven-unit condo project on Spokane’s South Hill, at the corner of 14th Avenue and Wall Street.

He remembers how the building used to look – a solid three-story brick structure built in the early 1920s. It had a stately, old-Spokane feeling, but was also in need of an upgrade, he said.

“What we’re trying for now is something I’d call Tuscan, with a high-end feeling,” Barnes said.

The Tuscan touch is evident inside and out, in the textured exterior walls and the dark interior woodwork.

The high-end components include granite countertops, wood floors and security-equipped elevator system.

This project is the first condo conversion for Barnes, owner of Shamrock Construction.

All the exterior building work is done, with white Permacrete covering the old red brick.

Within the next month Barnes expects his crew will finish the decks and common areas, outside garden and patios, plus seven carriage-style garages on the back of the building.

He’s sold two units so far, with five to go.

“I liked this building and I think it’s a nice quiet neighborhood,” he said, adding it’s near popular hangouts Bennidito’s Pizza, Picabu Bistro and Huckleberry’s Natural Market.

Barnes and a silent partner bought the building last year for $900,000, according to Spokane County records. They took over a project that first started in 2007, when two other developers tried the same idea, then stalled when the economy took a nosedive.

At the top level is a three-bedroom penthouse condo with 2,600 square feet. Barnes hopes to sell it for about $650,000.

The lower, basement level has a one-bedroom and a two-bedroom unit, starting at $189,000, he said.

The smallest units, in the lower level, measure about 1,000 square feet.

The four two-bedroom units on the second and third floors are 1,500 to 1,700 square feet and are priced around $350,000.

“The condo market here is slow,” Barnes said, “but it’s picking up.”

He’s fairly sure the lower South Hill is ready for what the building offers. “Downtown, most of the condos have a retro feeling. I’m trying for something else, more informal but high-end,” Barnes said.

Joe Nichols and Pam Lovell, both from Windermere Spokane-Manito South Regal, are listing agents for the building.

Project advances east of Valley mall

The developer of 35 acres of land east of Spokane Valley Mall expects new office or medical buildings to start going up later this year – a sign that commercial construction may be thawing after a long cold spell.

Workers are finishing infrastructure work at the site, including utilities and the extension of Indiana Avenue east to Flora Road.

The project, called Hanson Center East and situated just north of Interstate 90, has 20 lots available for office and medical buildings and light industrial use. Building sizes could range from less than 10,000 square feet to more than 100,000 square feet, said Carl Guenzel, a Kiemle & Hagood real estate broker who represents Hanson Industries.

The developer is willing to sell lots to business ventures or build to suit for leasing space, Guenzel said.

“We have a lot of opportunity out there,” he said. “We’re ready to make deals.”

Previous developments in the area include a Marriott Hotel, Hooters Restaurant and Owl Club Casino, and Spokane developer Walt Worthy’s five-story office building, River View Corporate Center, overlooking the Spokane River.

Also, a 106-room hotel Hampton Inn Suites, at 16418 E. Indiana Ave., is scheduled to open today.

The extended Indiana Avenue is expected to be paved by Labor Day, Guenzel said.

Second Adelo’s pizza to open

Kim and Matthew Howes, who started a take-out pizza spot called Adelo’s last year in north Spokane, are moving up the hill with their second store. The couple will open a South Hill Adelo’s at 2812 E. 30th Ave. in late May.

They’re taking over a vacant space used by a Pizza Rita franchise before it closed this year.

This location will be a take-out place like their pizzeria on Indian Trail Road. The South Hill location will also serve up wraps and salads. They won’t deliver pizza yet.

If they start delivering, the Howeses won’t be able to deliver microbrew beer with their pizzas – a popular service with North Side customers.

That’s because the 7-Eleven on 30th Avenue has language in its lease prohibiting other businesses on the strip from selling take-out beer, Matt Howes said

Howes said the new shop will hire about eight people.

Valley water district building new office

Model Irrigation District No. 18 broke ground this week on a new office at 1506 S. Pierce Road, in Spokane Valley.

The 3,100-square-foot building, which includes a large meeting room, will replace the ratepayer-owned water district’s 600-square-foot space, built in 1962.

James W. Elmer Construction Co. of Spokane was the project’s low bidder, at $427,762.

The district also will upgrade pipes around the office – improvements intended to last the next 50 years.

With four employees and three board members, Model Irrigation provides water to about 2,500 homes in this south Valley area. Its boundaries stretch south and east from Sixth Avenue and University Road.

Model Irrigation has supplied water from the Rathdrum Prairie-Spokane Valley Aquifer for the past 100 years.

Deputy City Editor Scott Maben contributed to this report. Here’s the Dirt is a weekly report on new developments and business openings, closings or movement in the Inland Northwest. E-mail or call (509) 459-5528.

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