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More parking is coming to downtown Spokane

UPDATED: Sat., Aug. 5, 2017, 7:52 p.m.

If you see the three-wheeled scooter of Parking Enforcement, someone is probably getting a ticket - as seen in this file photo from downtown Spokane in 2013. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
If you see the three-wheeled scooter of Parking Enforcement, someone is probably getting a ticket - as seen in this file photo from downtown Spokane in 2013. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

A six-story parking garage will rise in downtown Spokane, in the burgeoning west end marketed as the “entertainment district.”

The Montvale Parking Garage, 121 S. Madison St., will have 154 stalls and is being developed by GVD Commercial of Spokane. A surface parking lot with 60 spaces currently occupies the garage’s future spot, tucked between Railroad Alley and the elevated BNSF Railway viaduct.

Jerry Dicker, who owns GVD, said plans for the garage are still fluid and its size may change. He added it was unclear how much parking at the garage would cost, but argued it’s badly needed in a part of downtown with insufficient parking.

“My hope is that it will provide parking for Spokane’s entertainment district,” he said.

Dicker purchased the parking lot in 2015 for $1.5 million, and acquired the former International Order of Odd Fellows Lodge and Music City Building, both on First Avenue, in the same deal. He also owns the Montvale Hotel and has a minority stake in the old New Madison Hotel on the same block.

The parking garage will be open to the public, but some spots will be reserved for tenants of nearby apartments, Dicker said. The Music City Building is being renovated into housing, with street-level retail.

“I’m definitely for people living downtown. That’s a good thing,” Dicker said. “A vibrant city center is a plus. Those things are self-evident to me.”

Through his company, Dicker and his wife, Patty, own many buildings close to the planned garage: Bing Crosby Theater, Hotel Ruby and the space formerly occupied by Dempsey’s Brass Rail, which will house a new burger restaurant before year’s end.

In recent years, the west end of downtown has seen several restaurants open or relocate. The Brooklyn Deli moved to a bigger location on the ground floor of the Montvale Hotel. New tap rooms, Orlison Brewing and Steel Barrel, opened their doors. One Tree Hard Cider is opening a tasting room.

Without more proximate parking, Dicker said the growing popularity of the area could stagger.

By one calculation, surface parking lots account for 295 acres of Spokane’s urban core, or about a quarter of the land. This doesn’t account for downtown’s parking garages. Dicker’s garage would be the 13th multilevel parking structure downtown.

More recent parking garages built downtown include those tied to the Davenport Tower and Davenport Grand, and the Cowles Publishing Co. Parking Structure, just blocks from Dicker’s planned garage. The City Ramp Garage, built in 1928 at South Stevens Street and First Avenue, was Spokane’s first parking garage and is still open to the public.

The largest downtown parking garages are River Park Square, with 1,200 spots, and the Parkade, which has 800 spots.