Anthony’s Restaurants confirmed this week that the company intends to make an offer for the riverfront property the popular restaurant leases from the city of Spokane when it goes up for sale.
“Spokane has been wonderful to us, and we want to stay here at that landmark site,” said Lane Hoss, director of marketing for Anthony’s, which owns dozens of seafood establishments, mostly on the West Side.
Since 2004, Anthony’s has operated a restaurant on the city of Spokane’s land at 520 N. Lincoln St., with perhaps one of the best views of Upper Spokane Falls.
With news this week that the city intends to accept bids on the real estate, Anthony’s is likely to have competition.
City officials have received several inquiries about the 34,000-square-foot property, but nothing official, said Marlene Feist, city spokeswoman.
On Monday the Spokane City Council voted unanimously to declare the site as surplus property, setting the stage for a sale. The city spent $2.78 million to purchase the property 15 years ago. The Spokane County assessor lists the 2013 assessed value of the property and building at $1.9 million. Assessed value, the amount determined for tax purposes, is typically lower than market value.
The city will tentatively begin accepting proposals Monday, which will essentially become a bidding process for the property. Proposals would be accepted until the end of the month.
While Feist did not disclose who had unofficially expressed interest in the land, a proposal from the Spokane Tribe of Indians for the development of a cultural center on land owned by the Spokane Parks Department adjacent to the Anthony’s site is currently being considered, she said. She did not know if the tribe would abandon that site in favor of the premium site with the view of the falls. A call to the Spokane Tribe was not returned Thursday.
D.R. Michel, the executive director of the Upper Columbia United Tribes, a consortium that includes the Coeur d’Alene, Kootenai, Kalispel, Spokane and Colville tribes, said tribal leaders in the past discussed purchasing the site if it ever came up for sale, but he wasn’t aware of any recent talks about the coveted spot.
Hoss said it was too early to speculate on any issues Anthony’s might face in acquiring the land and could not comment further until the city has released details about the bid requirements for the property.
“We are going forward with the intent that we want to purchase,” Hoss said. The Spokane restaurant employs 74 people.
City officials said proposals will have to include a letter of intent and $10,000 earnest money, and any development will be subject to state and city shoreline development rules, which have changed since the building currently on the property was constructed in 1965.
While council members speculated Monday about the possibility of a hotel or other high-use facility, new shoreline requirements adopted in the past several years would not allow for buildings over 12 stories, and any vertical development would have to be built in a staggered “wedding cake” fashion so views would not be obstructed, said Ken Pelton, city planner.
“The ‘wedding cake’ idea was introduced to protect view points from the north side, and not have these massive wall buildings along the shoreline,” Pelton said.
The current A-frame building is closer than the 100-foot setback required under recent shoreline development requirements, Pelton said, but the current building could remain as is.
“There’s no expiration of that,” he said.
The city bought the property with the intent to build a bridge on the Lincoln Street alignment, but that proposal was blocked by state regulators because it would have been built over part of the lower falls.