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Shenanigans closes its doors as facilities district prepares for demolition

Owner didn’t tell PFD of its plans to close doors

The owner of downtown Spokane restaurant CI Shenanigans closed the business Saturday evening, surprising the restaurant’s landlord, the Spokane Public Facilities District.

About 40 workers were affected by the closure.

The closure is prompted by expansion of the north side of the Spokane Convention Center. In January 2010 the Public Facilities District paid $4.5 million to business owner RAM International for the property on the north side of the convention center. RAM, which operates more than a dozen restaurants across the country, is based in Lakewood, Wash.

Spokane’s Shenanigans had been in business for more than 30 years.

Kevin Twohig, CEO of the facilities district, said he was surprised to hear RAM International closed the business. He had not been given advance notice of the closure, he added.

“We assumed they would operate through the end of their lease, which was Jan. 31,” he said.

Managers at RAM could not be reached for comment Sunday. A TV news report quoted one of the restaurant’s employees saying management told workers the business would remain open through the end of the year.

Twohig noted he had scheduled a banquet at the restaurant for next week. “I”ll have to find another place for the banquet,” he said.

It clearly won’t be at Shenanigans. The only people at the restaurant on Sunday were workers hired to haul out some of the equipment that will be stored by RAM or sold off.

The facilities district, as it prepares to add 90,000 square feet to the Convention Center, had made clear since 2010 it would demolish the restaurant to provide more meeting space. Voters last April approved a $65 million plan allowing the facilities district to move ahead with the expansion.

After that vote, the district notified RAM International of plans to move forward, Twohig said. RAM was also told the lease for the land would not be extended, Twohig said.

Twohig said RAM managers told him they wanted to find another Spokane location after they closed the downtown Shenanigans.

PFD officials say the expansion of the Convention Center, which has been part of its Vision 20/20 master plan for several years, will create more break-out meeting space in addition to an expansion of the Group Health Exhibit Hall.

Expansion would occur both at ground level and at the second level, on the north and northeast sides of the existing facility.

Twohig said no date has been set to demolish the building, but it likely wouldn’t occur before next spring. The PFD is completing the financing and terms of bond sales to move ahead with the expansion.