Five years after buying the Burgan’s Furniture buildings on North Division Street in Spokane, developer Jerry Dicker has launched a multimillion-dollar project that will add 46 apartments and three retail stores just west of Gonzaga University.
At one time, the side-by-side buildings near the corner of Boone Avenue and Division were part of Spokane’s popular “furniture row” retail corridor.
In 2008 the owners of Burgan’s Furniture shut down the business and sold the buildings and land to Dicker’s development company, GVD Commercial Properties, for $2.4 million.
The buildings have been empty since then. Now, with the economy recovering, Dicker has begun moving forward with the project.
“We needed to study the site for a year or two to see what was the best use for those buildings,” he added.
Crews will tear off the old walls of the northern building, including the tiled green and yellow sides that were added in the 1980s. Because of those tiled walls, the original exterior walls are no longer worth saving, said Ryan Goodell, the project manager for GVD Commercial Properties.
The lower level of the northern building will include a conference area, meeting spaces and a fitness center.
The southern building was once the furniture warehouse. Its exterior will be renovated and saved, except for the east wall, which will need a number of new windows and entries.
The southern building’s main level will house two restaurants and another retail space. One-bedroom apartments will fill the two upper levels of both buildings.
GVD sees the apartments attracting people who are looking for “corporate stay” units, which are an alternative to hotels for visitors who plan on an extended stay in the area.
“Because of the nearby University District and the hospitals, we think there’s a market for the corporate stay option there,” Dicker said.
Dicker estimated the Burgan’s Block project will cost between $9 million and $12 million, with construction starting within 60 days.
The southern building is part of the DeSmet Avenue Warehouse Historic District. Neither building, however, is on a specific historic register. Dicker said he’s not seeking to get historic tax credits on the project.
Dicker has headed up a handful of high-profile projects in the area in recent years, including converting the Hotel Ruby and buying the CompUSA building, the Spokane Interplayers theater building and the Bing Crosby Theater downtown.
“Our business is fixing buildings” and looking for projects that will provide growth and value over time, Dicker said.
Bernardo-Wills Architects, of Spokane, is the project design firm. Dicker said the visual approach is to make the buildings “contemporary, artistic and eclectic.”
His company has discussed working with the city to use Local Revitalization Financing to pay for new sidewalks and other street improvements along Division and Ruby Street. That process is ongoing, Goodell said.
GVD Commercial Properties expects tenants to start moving into the buildings in summer 2014.
The first building on the site was a general merchandise and grocery store on DeSmet, in the southern building. Its owner, Spokane businessman Edwin S. Burgan, eventually added the northern building around 1919. It wasn’t until the 1940s that the business shifted completely to furniture retailing.
A new walkway will be constructed to connect the buildings. Together, the buildings will be roughly 60,000 square feet.