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Sterling to consolidate in Crescent Court space

Sterling Savings Bank will take over the vacant sixth floor of the downtown Spokane Crescent Court office building next month.

Sterling will use the space to consolidate some of its downtown workforce. It will sublease nearly 24,100 square feet currently leased by the U.S. Postal Service, which moved out of the Crescent building in 2009.

The new space is in a building located at 707 W. Main Ave.; Sterling’s company headquarters is in the nearby 111 N. Wall St. building. The banking company has about 460 workers in the downtown Spokane area, said spokeswoman Cara Coon.

About 120 Sterling workers now using space in the Sherwood Building, at 510 W. Riverside Ave., will move into the Crescent Court space in August. Sterling sold the Sherwood Building in 2006 and has leased space there since.

Sterling’s move is meant to gain “operational efficiencies by bringing groups that work together closer together,” Coon said. The entire floor will be devoted to Sterling’s back-office operations, including auditing, compliance and loan support services.

Until 2009 the sixth floor was used by the postal service as its district office. The federal agency has been searching for a tenant to sublease the sixth floor ever since it moved the district office to Seattle that year.

The postal service lease, at $490,000 per year, runs until March 2014. That’s about $20 per square foot.

The deal with Sterling lets the bank sublease the floor until that date, at $265,540 per year, said USPS spokesman Ernie Swanson. The sublease pays roughly $11 per square foot, Swanson said.

The postal service doesn’t use tax dollars to cover its property expenses. As a self-funded operation, its budget relies on sales of stamps and shipping services. Postal employees, however, draw benefits from the federal government’s health care and pension funds.

The owner of the Crescent Court building is FPA Crescent Associates, of Larkspur, Calif., which bought the building for nearly $20 million from Red Lion Hotels Corp. in 2005.

Sterling Financial, the parent company that operates Sterling Savings Bank, restructured in 2010 as it reeled from millions of dollars in losses due to real estate and construction loans. It raised $730 million in new capital from institutional, private equity and other accredited investors, allowing the company to regroup under new management.