I’m upset about Washington State University’s decision to demolish the Jensen-Byrd warehouse and award a contract to a Texas firm to build new dorms, rather than allow successful Spokane developer Ron Wells to restore this historic gem to use.
WSU has been a shortsighted neighbor for a long time, and I’m tired of it. I still fondly remember the energy, excitement and potential of the wonderful farmers market that used to reside at Division and Riverside in the early 1990s, nearby the Jensen-Byrd building.
After several fantastic years, WSU shut that market down, saying that it had plans to develop the adjoining building that market coordinators had intended to utilize more fully. But, instead, the entire site has been vacant until the recent creation of Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
Then, six years ago, there was the Phoenix Project proposal, http://phoenix.efgn.org/docs/ PhoenixProject083106.pdf, to create a multiuse venue at Jensen-Byrd for a farmers market, high-tech business incubator space, music, art, and video studios, a theater, auditorium and more. It would’ve been a huge asset for Spokane, but WSU had no interest in that, either.
It’s time for WSU to respect Spokane’s heritage and the community, rather than destroy it! Save the Jensen-Byrd!!