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Yellow-roofed skywalk attached to Parkade will be no more

This yellow scalloped historic skywalk at Main and Howard in downtown Spokane is being demolished on Thursday, March 15, 2018. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
This yellow scalloped historic skywalk at Main and Howard in downtown Spokane is being demolished on Thursday, March 15, 2018. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

The yellow scallop in the sky has seen its last day.

Since 1972, the yellow-roofed skywalk over Main Avenue has greeted visitors to downtown Spokane, outlandishly connecting the historic Bennett Block to the eccentric Parkade.

No more. This week, workers from Kilgore Construction began dismantling the skywalk, scrapping the metal in preparation for a newly designed structure matching the new skywalks connecting to the old Macy’s building.

Some may lament the loss, but not all icons are meant to last, especially yellow ones that drive their owner a bit crazy.

“The Pringle potato chips are coming off,” Dru Hieber said happily. Hieber owns the skywalk, the Bennett Block and most of the block the building sits on.

She’s never really liked the 1970s-era skywalk, and recent work converting the former Macy’s building to residences and renovating the Bennett Block gave her the perfect opportunity. Two new skywalks were constructed to connect to the Macy’s structure, called the M.

“It’s going to look similar to the one on Howard Street,” Hieber said of the skywalk between Spokane Falls Boulevard and Main Avenue. “It’s going to have a more open feel and much better view.”

Hieber estimated the work to run around $500,000 and said the second-level walkway will be open in mid-May.

Chad Schmidt, project manager with NAC Architecture for the M and Hieber’s skywalk, said the skywalk is “more of an update” since it’s keeping the original, structural base. He said the new look will be similar to the other new skywalks but will be “executed in a different aesthetic,” allowing it to blend in with the modern M, the historic Bennett and the midcentury Parkade.

“It will certainly be modernized,” he said. “It blends, but it wanted to be its own thing.”

The work isn’t all about looks. Schmidt said the interior floors would regularly ice over in the winter, and Hieber said the last major update was done when the original 1967 structure was enclosed in 1972.

“We’ve had to paint and seal and caulk the joints over the years, but it’s just to the point … it was failing,” Hieber said, adding that anyone hoping to get some of that infamous metal roofing is out of luck. “Scrapping it. But the nice thing about it, the tradeoff is you’ll be able to see the historic building.”


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