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Then and Now: Realty Building’s storied history

Mon., July 7, 2014

The Galland brothers established Galland-Burke Brewing and Malting in 1891, constructing a five-story plant on the north bank of the river in 1892.

In 1902, the Gallands merged into Spokane Brewing and turned to other investments, including real estate. In 1909, they hired architect Albert Held to design a pair of dignified structures, one for the corner of Riverside Avenue and Division and one for the 200 block of West Riverside, though it was far from the business center of Howard and Riverside.

But the Old National Bank building at Washington and Riverside, considered Spokane’s first “skyscraper,” spurred interest in property along Riverside. “The trustees and stockholders … have confidence in the rapidly growing improvements on both sides of Riverside Ave. and are willing to be pioneers, therefore, in extending the business limits into the territory mentioned,” said chairman Julius Galland as $400,000 was spent on the building.

The two new structures and other holdings would make Spokane Realty/Spokane Brewing the largest landowner in downtown Spokane. The new buildings would be steel-framed and fire-proof, using the latest technology to prevent a repeat of the 1889 fire.

As the Realty Building was completed, it was 65 percent occupied. The upper floors were the home of the Realty Hotel until the 1920s. Unfortunately, the business district never grew out to the new building and the owners couldn’t demand the high rents of buildings closer to the heart of the city. The second building was never completed. Radio station KSPO put a radio antenna on the roof in the 1950s.

Held had a long architecture career, designing the Holley-Mason Building, parts of Sacred Heart Hospital, Centennial Mills and North Central High School.

In 1960, the Realty was bought by the city of Spokane and remodeled for the police and other city departments. The building relieved crowding at City Hall at Trent and Wall and was used throughout the 1960s. In 1968, voters approved a bond to build a new public safety building behind the county courthouse to house city police and the county sheriff’s department.

In 1970, the Realty was sold to Catholic Charities, which remodeled it into 84 units of low-income housing and renamed it the Delaney Apartments, which it remains today.

  – Jesse Tinsley


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