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Reconstruction updates mansion for modern use

Electrical fire damaged historic Cliff House in December, forcing Arbor Crest to rebuild

With a month of work left to do, the owners of the Arbor Crest Cliff House say the Spokane Valley landmark has been largely rebuilt inside but still retains the 1924 design features that have made it an architectural jewel.

An electrical fire in December forced Arbor Crest’s owners to gut the mansion. Work has continued for roughly six months.

The building has been the visible icon for Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, which took over the former Riblet Mansion and adjoining property in 1984.

Early on the 3,000-square foot mansion was used as Arbor Crest’s wine tasting area. That role ended when a larger, modern tasting room was built several years ago.

In recent years the Cliff House was used as a bridal preparation area and for small business meetings.

Once the redesign is finished, the Cliff House’s new role will be as a location for small gatherings hosted by the winery, and as a guest house for visitors, said Jim van Loben Sels, general manager of the winery.

The former tiny kitchen has been expanded and relocated to the main floor. Van Loben Sels said the demo kitchen will be used for tastings and tests with wine reviewers and chefs.

The second-level dining room has been reconfigured and expanded into one large open space with a 360-degree view from the winery’s bluff. “That wasn’t possible before because there were walls and nooks and crannies throughout the building,” said van Loben Sels.

Spokane-based Blue Room Architects & Design, along with David Randall, were the project architects.

Kop Construction, also of Spokane, was the general contractor for the project, which cost roughly $650,000. Insurance covered that project, while Arbor Crest paid $400,000 on other improvements, including two water tanks to hold 30,000 gallons of water.

The family will continue using the mansion for community open houses, van Loben Sels added.

“We’ll have one for the community to come out and see what’s been done, but it will be after the first of the year,” he said.

Big Lots to open on North Side

Big Lots, a nationwide close-out and discount retailer, is taking the former Linens ‘n Things location at NorthPointe Plaza, 10100 Newport Highway.

Big Lots, based in Columbus, Ohio, has signed a long-term lease to fill a 29,625-square-foot space in the shopping center. The opening date hasn’t been announced yet, said a spokesman for the NorthPointe Plaza company.

The north Spokane Big Lots is expected to hire 40 to 50 workers, the company has said.

Marine shop moves

Spokane Valley Marine is relocating from East Montgomery Avenue to the former Skipper Bill’s store at 7915 E. Sprague Ave. in Spokane Valley.

One of Spokane Valley Marine’s partners, Dan Conrath, said the Skipper Bill’s space is larger, at 14,000 square feet, and has a more efficient shop for service.

Spokane Valley Marine is buying the property, used for more than 20 years by Skipper Bill’s owner Bill Bongers, who retired earlier this year.

Conrath and his partners are remodeling the building and plan to reopen in the new location in early December.

John Jeffries, of NAI Black, and Mike Livingston and Craig Soehren, of Kiemle & Hagood, were the brokers.

GI Jodi’s starts up on Sprague

GI Jodi’s, which offers personal and group fitness classes, has opened in a remodeled space at 726 E. Sprague Ave.

Owner and operator Jodi Kucera will hold an open house Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Kucera formerly worked at the Spokane Club. She specializes in yoga, Pilates, suspension training and personal training.

GI Jodi’s is open daily. Hours and other details are available at Contact: (509) 710-9103.

The Fitness Center opens

The Fitness Center Inc. has opened a gym in north Spokane.

The facility includes weight machines, cardio room, basketball court, racquetball courts, swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room and indoor running track.

It specializes in Les Mills group fitness classes such as RPM, Body Pump, Body Attack and Body Step. The Fitness Center also has a women’s center, yoga classes, Zumba, water aerobics, personal training, family swim times, racquetball lessons, tanning and child care.

Owners are Fred Lopez, Gene Cavender and Joey Fenske.

It’s located at 110 W. Price Ave., just off North Division Street in Spokane. Hours are Monday-Friday, 5 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

Kids’ consignment shop opens

Trader Tots, a children’s resale store, has opened in Post Falls. The consignment shop carries children’s clothes, baby gear and maternity clothing.

Consignors earn half of the sales price of their items.

“There are very few children’s items we won’t try to sell, as long as they are in good condition.” said Stephanie Brodwater, the owner.

Trader Tots does not take cribs and car seats on consignment because of recalls and safety issues, Brodwater said.

The store is at 740 N Cecil Road, Suite 112. Call (208) 773-7506.

Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mondays and 9:30 to 5:30 Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. (208) 773-7506.

DirecTV leases storage building

Satellite entertainment company DirecTV, Inc. has leased 10,600 square feet in Building 33 of the Spokane Business & Industrial Park, 3808 N. Sullivan Road.

The company is using the building to store equipment and supplies.

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