Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Things continue happening in and around the city downtown business core. Shown here is the newest architect's rendering of the Worthy Convention Center Hotel, which is steadily taking shape in downtown Spokane.
This is at least the third rendering, which keep evolving as the project gets farther along. It's not clear yet if this is the definitive final design for the huge downtown building, which will be done sometime in 2015.
The rendering shows something we didn't see in earlier drawings: six concrete pillars each with a flaming torch.
See the second image here, down below, for a close-up.
Our first reaction is: How did Avista convince the Worthys to commit to something so …. non-green?
It's also possible they're just for show. It's possible those will disappear by the time the final design has to be completed.
Matt Jensen, who does marketing for the Worthys and the Davenport Collection, said it's not a sure thing they'll be in the final design.
He emailed: "They're kind of place-holders for now as well. Might end up being a type of light post instead."
In case you want to sound off, the city's design review board has to make a final verdict on the total design. We're not sure when that is; we'll find out and alert residents to how they can comment to the board on what they like or don't.
More chances to take sides on the Walt Worthy downtown Convention Center hotel. Not that we take any sides in the matter.
The latest architect's rendering is shown here, thanks to efforts by Worthy's Davenport Hotel Collection company.
Also here (below) is a PFD document with a detailed summary and drawings of what will be inside the huge 722-room, 15-room hotel.
The work continues on the ground and is expected to continue through next year, with an expected opening in 2015.
The whole point, according to the Spokane Public Facilities District, is to give downtown a lot more room and more dazzle to attract events and conventions. A consultant told the PFD that the hotel will draw roughly nine more events each year to the Convention Center and generate roughly 20,000 extra room nights from those conventions.
It also predicted the hotel would host 75 to 100 new events per year.
BOATING — The Spokane Parks and Recreation Board apparently has reached an agreement with the Spokane Public Facilities District that may assure maintaining a viable boat take-out point under the Division Street Bridge after the voter-approved $55 million Convention Center expansion project is finished.
But here's a message received tonight from Parks Board member Andy Dunau of the Spokane River Forum:
I’m pleased to be able to share what I believe is good news. Today, the Spokane Parks and Recreation Board passed a resolution that the PFD has agreed to. The resolution addresses items needed to move forward this fall with development activities on Centennial Trail and Spokane River shoreline that are part of the convention center expansion. The section of the resolution that is essential to a put-in/take-out for the water trail reads as follows:
“The Park Board approves the Access in principle and subject to further review and approval design of the Park Board, and further authorizes the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department to be the lead agency in getting the Access permitted, conditioned on the District’s acknowledgement that it will bear all costs and expenses associated with permitting and construction of the Access, including any expenses ordinarily assigned to the City as lead agency for any permitting and/or construction of the Access, up to an amount not exceeding $47,000.”
The PFD verbally agreed to the resolution at the Park Board meeting, and will memorialize their agreement to it in a letter being sent to the Park Board.
We now have in writing a commitment of funds from the PFD, a design that has received broad support (also funded over the summer by the PFD), and Parks and Recreation agreeing to be the lead agency to develop the access. We can now get to the fun part: creating the Spokane River Water Trail Division Street Bridge Access.
Over the past week, intensive hours were committed by both PFD and Parks and Recreation staff and Boards to take this critical step forward. We are very appreciative of their time, effort and support. The Forum would also like to thank Spokane City Council for amending the municipal code last spring to allow this site location to move forward; Avista for their support in developing the design; Spokane Riverkeeper for providing important policy and regulatory guidance; and the many individuals and user groups who are the lifeblood of helping make good things happen.
UPDATE: Sept. 12 at 8 p.m.: Tentative agreement reached on Spokane River boat access at Division Street.
RIVERS — Plans for the voter funded $55-$65 million expansion of the Spokane Convention Center are advancing to the construction stage, but Public Facilities District officials continue to suggest that maintaining viable public river access at Division Street Bridge for rafts, kayaks, paddle boards and outfitters is not their priority.
I wrote about this in April when the designs were being approved.
I wrote about it again today as the PFD readies to begin digging without giving a commitment to a viable boat access when the construction is complete.
Office Hours pulled the image that ran with a blog entry yesterday about the proposed Convention Center hotel.
This was done at the request of Matt Jensen, who works for the Davenport Collection, the corporate entity that runs the Davenport buildings, the Lusso and would run the new hotel, if it's built.
We debated not pulling the rendering, which appeared online at the Public Facilities District site. It was, at one time, a formal rendering presented to the district during earlier discussions.
Jensen said the old rendering is no longer up-to-date and doesn't reflect the most recent plans for the building. Since we'd rather have a true rendering, we opted to pull the image.
Jensen said a new rendering should be available within a week.
We pulled the architectural redering that was posted here yesterday, showing one possible view of the proposed downtown Convention Center hotel.
The Worthy company said, Hey, that's not the current and updated rendering. They asked us to pull it and we agreed, after considering briefly the option of leaving it here at least as part of the record.
We found that rendering on the page listed below, at the Spokane Publc Facilities District.
The drumbeat of downtown development booms along.
The image appeared on the Spokane Public Facilities District webpage:
Should you want to dive into the actual agreements signed by the Spokane Public Facilities District with the Walt Worthy company that intends to build a large downtown convention center hotel, here is the link.
Look down near the bottom of that page. The major links are to the Joint Development Agreement and the Purchase and Sale Agreement. In the long and generally boring sale agreement is the very basic and simple to understand condition: the land is being sold as-is to the developer.
Wednesday's Spokesman Review story on the actions taken so far to build the huge hotel (with 900 parking spaces) is at this link.
The same site provided this jpg image of the tentative floor plan of the main floor of the proposed 15-level building. The parking area/garage is in the lower right, the southeast corner of the building, in this plan.
The company that closed C.I. Shenanigans said it wants to reopen in Spokane but is having trouble finding the right spot.
RAM International CEO Jeff Iverson said Spokane’s been a good market for Shenanigans, which operated for 32 years near the Spokane River just north of the Spokane Convention Center. The restaurant closed abruptly on Oct. 13.
Iverson knew this was the final year for Shenanigans at the spot it's had, north of the Spokane Convention Center next to the Spokane River.
Spokane's Public Facilities District bought the restaurant property in 2010. It now plans to demolish the resaturant this coming spring to expand the convention center.
PFD CEO Kevin Twohig said RAM was told its property lease would not be renewed beyond early 2013.
RAM, based in Lynnwood, Wash., never gave Twohig advance notice it was closing, Twohig said.
He said he assumed the eatery would stay open through December.
Iverson said he never told his employees it would remain open that long.
He also said the company is finding that another downtown location may not make sense.
Downtown Spokane now is “a bit saturated” with eateries competing for diners, he said. Also, the popularity of neighborhood food places further takes away some of the appeal of downtown dining, he said.
“We haven’t found anything” that meets the criteria the company has for an alternate location, Iverson said.
Iverson acknowledged the closure led to “a lot of emotions” directed at his company. He also said he is not willing to rehash the series of events that led to the closure.
“What I can say is we always try to do the best thing we can for our company and our people,” Iverson said.
The campaign to extend two taxes to pay for the expansion of the Spokane Convention Center and Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena has pulled a TV ad featuring Spokane City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin.
Citizens for Jobs Now has developed a series of commercials each featuring two people who often represent competing interests, including messages with a Democrat and Republican and another with a union member and a business owner. In each ad each spokesperson says that despite their usual differences they support Measure 1, the Spokane Public Facilities District tax plan that pays for the Convention Center and arena expansions.