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Sun., Dec. 8, 2013

Jensen-Byrd is languishing

Something needs to be done with the old Jensen-Byrd building. This monstrosity has been empty since 2004. Ten years and nothing has happened. Let’s create jobs and build a modern, revenue-producing student housing complex.

Washington State University Chancellor Lisa Brown stated there are a range of housing options in the neighborhoods. I spent several years as the director of housing at a major university. I can tell you people do not appreciate students in rental units. They drive down property values, park on what was the front lawn and abuse the ubiquitous old sofa and barbecue. Then add the noise and garbage. Students don’t like to live in an old house that costs a fortune to heat and has no air-conditioning. Wi-Fi/TV costs $100-plus per month. No one likes to walk or ride a bike in the heat or the ice and snow.

As for the Spokane Preservation Advocates, I say get over it. This is not a luxury hotel awaiting a $20 million renovation. It is an old warehouse. Students deserve comfortable housing with modern amenities. Applicants would stampede to get in and would patronize the downtown.

Chancellor Brown should lead or get out of the way.

Gary Webbenhurst


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