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YWCA sells riverfront building for $3.2 million

The YWCA complex sits between the scenic lower and upper falls on the Spokane River. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
The YWCA complex sits between the scenic lower and upper falls on the Spokane River. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane’s YWCA finally has sold its former prime riverfront campus.

The property, which overlooks the North Channel of Spokane River, sold Dec. 9 for $3.2 million to The Falls, said Trish McFarland, executive director of the YWCA of Spokane.

The Falls is a corporation formed this fall by Lawrence Stone, president of SCAFCO, a silo and steel stud manufacturer based in Spokane.

“This allows us to move forward and focus on our mission of empowering women and eliminating racism in our community,” McFarland said.

The purchase is the second significant property acquisition involving Stone in the last few years. In 2009, the Spokane City Council accepted Stone’s $2.1 million bid to purchase 48 acres of the former Playfair horse track in the East Central neighborhood where Stone is relocating portions of SCAFCO.

Attempts made to reach Stone were unsuccessful.

The YWCA sale was finalized more than a year after SRM Development reneged on a deal to pay $4 million for the building, 829 W. Broadway.

In 2005, leaders of the YMCA and YWCA announced that they were selling their downtown riverfront buildings to build a consolidated operation. The new Y, 930 N. Monroe, opened in 2009. But the sales of the former buildings became major headaches for the organizations as the real estate market collapsed.

The Spokane Park Board decided to buy the YMCA building for $5.3 million to incorporate it into Riverfront Park in 2006. The deal became controversial and wasn’t finalized until the City Council finished the purchase in 2009. SRM Development agreed in 2005 to acquire the YWCA and announced plans to build two 14-story condo towers on the site. But the deal fell apart after the real estate market crashed. SRM lost its $250,000 down payment on the building.

McFarland said that the final purchase price is enough to complete the YWCA’s and YMCA’s goal of raising $40.5 million, which paid, in part, for the new building on North Monroe Street.

“It’s the last piece of the puzzle for our capital campaign,” she said.

McFarland said the new space is a big improvement for the organization, but she does miss the surroundings of the former location.

“We’ll always miss the view and wonderful sound of the falls in the spring,” McFarland said. “It’s the best view in town.”

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