Four area investors, including Hall of Fame baseball star George Brett, have purchased the Holley Mason Building in downtown Spokane for $4 million.
The six-story brick landmark at 157 S. Howard St. has been used for commercial offices for the past 35 years. The previous Spokane-based owner, developer Rob Brewster, defaulted on bank loans in 2012 and his lender, Prudential Bank, took over the building.
The new owners, calling themselves Holley Mason-20 LLC, include Spokane sports team owner Bobby Brett, developer Chris Batten and investor John Pariseau.
The Holley Mason is the first real estate investment his famous brother has made in Spokane, Bobby Brett said. George Brett lives in Kansas City, his hometown and where he spent 21 years playing for the Kansas City Royals. His plan is to be a silent partner, said his brother
Built in 1905, the building is on the national and Spokane registers of historic places. Built with brick walls, concrete floors and concrete supports, the structure was called Spokane’s first fireproof building.
“This building is extremely well-built and was renovated the right way,” said Batten.
Batten said the partners approached C3 Realty, a New York firm that acquired the building after Prudential Bank sold the note to U.S. Bank. C3 Realty reportedly paid over $5 million for the nearly 120,000-square-foot building.
“It wasn’t even listed, but we thought the building was a good investment and was in such good shape,” Batten added.
The main tenant is call center company West Corp., which occupies nearly three full floors.
Washington Trust Bank uses the fifth floor for back-office operations.
The main floor’s restaurant tenant, the Rocket Bakery, has just signed a lease extension, Batten said.
Batten said the building is roughly 80 percent occupied. His management company, Rencorp, plans to recruit additional tenants. The investors will spend several hundred-thousand dollars making improvements, including resurfacing the adjacent parking area on the building’s east side.
Spokane architect Glen Cloninger is credited with seeing the value of the building when he and a number of partners bought it in 1980 and undertook a major remodel. Cloninger bought out the partners and sold the building in 1992.
Six years later Brewster, who went on to buy and renovate other downtown historic buildings including the Hutton Building and the Montvale Hotel, bought the Holley Mason for roughly $475,000.
He arranged a deal with Spokane Public Schools a year later, renovating the building as temporary classrooms while Lewis and Clark High School went through a two-year expansion.
After the 2008 recession, Brewster saw his other Spokane properties sold off through a series of foreclosures. The one remaining unsold former Brewster property in Spokane, the downtown Montvale Hotel, is in receivership and will be sold eventually to pay off creditors.
Pariseau, Batten and Bobby Brett are also the owners of two other downtown buildings, the former Dutch’s Music and the former Huppin’s HiFi, Photo and Video, on West Main Avenue.