A trio of Spokane business owners has completed the purchase of a historic building in the east downtown area – the former Huppin’s retail store at 421 W. Main Ave.
Buyers Chris Batten, Bobby Brett and John Pariseau paid $1.25 million for the two-level Huppin’s property. Last year they spent $479,000 for the next-door building which housed Dutch’s Musical Instruments.
The partners are lining up tenants for both buildings. Deb Green, owner of Madeleine’s, a downtown restaurant, said she’s taking most of the main floor of the former Dutch’s building to open a new eatery this summer.
She and her daughter, Megan VanStone, also own Casper Fry, on the South Hill.
Madeleine’s will remain where it is, Green added, and there is no name yet for the new location.
In March, Gary Pettigrew, owner of Spokane Exercise Equipment, will relocate his retail business to the first floor of the renovated Huppin’s building, Batten said.
Demolition has been ongoing at Dutch’s for more than a month; the first stage of renovating the Huppin’s building started Monday.
Both Batten and Brett, who owns the Spokane Indians baseball team and Spokane Chiefs hockey team, said their interest in that block was spurred by Walt Worthy’s nearby construction of the city’s largest hotel.
“Without a doubt, I don’t know if we would have focused on that block without Walt Worthy building that Convention Center hotel,” Batten said.
Within 18 months, the hotel and nearby development will change the dynamics of downtown, creating a connected downtown from River Park Square to the Convention Center, he said.
The Huppin’s building goes back to 1900, when it was originally a retail store. The first Huppin family investment occurred in 1908, when Russian immigrant Sam Huppin opened a tailor shop there.
The store was expanded several times, evolving into a retailer of consumer electronics – Huppin’s TV, Audio, Camera and More. Company President Murray Huppin closed the downtown store in 2013, consolidating its operations at a building in north Spokane.
The downtown building has 14,000 square feet on the main level and 9,000 square feet on the second, Brett said.
“We intend to lease every square foot of the building,” he said. The group may seek to sell a stake in the building to a commercial company looking to take part of the second level.
The partners have hired Nystrom + Olson Architecture to manage the property design. The goal will be to develop complementary storefronts to accent the sturdy visual appeal of those two buildings, Batten said.
Brett is the managing partner heading the development of the Dutch’s property.
Pariseau, who has headed some Spokane-area venture investment firms, is the managing partner of the Huppin’s building. Pariseau was formerly chief financial officer for family-owned Brewster Heights Packing Inc., one of Central Washington’s largest fruit shipping companies.
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