Not much has changed on the corner of North Market Street and Queen Avenue since the Alaskan Tavern burned down in February 2010.
Now Paul Breithaupt has bought a building, which is sitting on blocks just off Hawthorne Road where the Newport Cinemas used to be, and is planning to move it to the old Alaskan Tavern lot at the 5100 block of North Market Street. He may open a restaurant or a bar.
Breithaupt operates the Barbary Coast at 5209 N. Market St.
“I think the building is a great fit for the lot,” Breithaupt said. “We will change the front so it blends in better with the old buildings around it.”
But not everyone in Hillyard thinks this is a good idea.
Tom Weaver, who owns the historic Hillyard Laundry building on Olympic Avenue, just off Market Street, said putting a modern-looking building in historic Hillyard is an ill-conceived plan.
“It’s right next to the community park and it won’t fit with the rest of the neighborhood,” Weaver said, adding that the neighborhood has had its sights set on that spot for a Hillyard museum.
Paul Hamilton, whose Allstate Insurance office is across the street, also opposes the plan.
Together with Weaver, and a group of Hillyard business owners and residents, Hamilton spoke at a City Council meeting a couple of weeks ago, opposing the new building.
“It’s a postage-sized lot. There is no room for parking, except in the street,” Hamilton said, adding that he has spent 30 years in neighborhood planning trying to preserve Hillyard and work within the rules of the growth management plan. “What they have is a pig with lipstick on it. They shouldn’t be able to just move it on there.”
City records have Lloyd Torgerson of Mead listed as the owner of the Market Street property and also of the property where the building is currently stored.
Torgerson declined to talk about the building or the property, saying he “has nothing to do with it any longer.”
Breithaupt maintains that there is plenty of room for the building and parking, but declined to go into more detail about what specifically he’d like to use the building for.
“We are moving the building as a spec building, without designating a use for it,” Breithaupt said.
But before he starts hauling his building to Hillyard, Breithaupt must gain the approval of the Historic Landmarks Commission.
City/county historic preservation officer Kristen Griffin said Hillyard is both on the National Register of Historic Districts and the Spokane Register of Historic Districts, and that means Breithaupt must obtain a “certificate of appropriateness” for the building before he moves it to the Hillyard location.
“I believe this would be the first time we have a newer building being moved into a historic district,” Griffin said. “It’s going to be interesting to see what happens.”
Breithaupt said he didn’t know he needed approval but has now filed a formal application with the Landmarks Commission.
Hamilton said he has nothing against bars but he wants Breithaupt to follow the same rules as anybody else.
“I’m fighting this pretty hard personally,” Hamilton said. “Why do we have a historic district if you can just move a new building in here? That makes no sense.”
The building is 1,500 square feet and it used to be Miller’s Tavern, which was located at 811 E. Hawthorne Road.
With its new beige and brown siding and new windows it looks like a small office building that could have been built yesterday.
Breithaupt said the lot is 7,600 square feet, leaving plenty of room around it.
“But for now, we can’t do anything,” Breithaupt said. “We have to wait for the Landmarks Commission to make a decision.”