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Latest Spokane hotel plan has Vegas-type torches; anyone out there like them?

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.

 

That monolith in the convention center project? It’s a shear wall

Today's SR story about the large hotel project across from the Convention Center featured an aerial photo by SR photographer Jesse Tinsley.

The photo doesn't display very well the large monolithic wall that's on the site. At the street level, that large wall of concrete is very visible. It's just above the center of this photo. The red lift with the white arm is just below the wall.

Just estimating, it looks to be a concrete slab 60 feet wide by maybe 40 feet high, by maybe 3 feet across the top.

Matt Jensen, a spokesman for Walt Worthy, who's building the 15-floor hotel, identified that slab as a shear wall. In taller structures, shear walls provide lateral stability to the building in the event of an earthquake or intense windstorm.

The new convention center hotel will have six such walls. In projects like this, they are tied in to the foundation walls and will run up the height of the building.

Construction crews hope to get as many started before winter snows come in.

When work picks up in March, the project will add a large crane for moving materials up the walls and onto the building floors.

The Davenport Hotel Collection rendering of how the building will look, more or less, is below.

Here’s the latest rendering of the Worthy downtown convention center hotel

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.


Documents:

It’s official: the previous rendering of Walt Worthy’s proposed hotel was out-of-date

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.

Office Hours pulls previous rendering of Worthy’s convention center hotel

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:

If you’re looking for more information on the planned convention center hotel, here’s the link

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.

Worthys’ project would be more than twice the size of Davenport Hotel

Today's big local business story was the announcement by Walt and Karen Worthy that they're about to begin a plan to build a large headquarter hotel near the Spokane Convention Center.

They acknowledged that the plan is for a very big hotel. About 550,000 square feet. Plus another 300,000 square feet for a garage adjoining the hotel.

By comparison, the historic Davenport Hotel is roughly 250,000 square feet. That takes up a whole block.

So imagine a city block twice as big, that's about the size of the new hotel the Worthys say they're going to start.

Groundbreaking would be the first quarter of 2013. It would likely not be ready until mid to late 2014, according to today's press conference  held downtown.

How Walt Worthy made it easier for INHS to get into the Wells Fargo Tower

Friday's major downtown Spokane business story was the culmination of two building takeovers: the 17-story Wells Fargo Tower and the six-level Holley Mason Building. Both buildings gained new owners.

The bigger deal was the acquistion of the rest of the Wells Fargo Building by INHS, the nonprofit medical services provider that was originally hatched as a jointly supervised organization serving both Empire Health Services and Providence Health (Sacred Heart).

On Friday INHS took over the last 74 percent of the Wells Fargo Building. In 2009 it had acquired 26 percent of the building.

Now for some history: Walt Worthy, who bought the tower from the ashes of Metropolitan Mortgage and Securiities in 2005, made it easy for INHS to get into a good lease at a time when INHS was struggling to find adequate downtown office space.

In 2005 INHS was working out of two buildings, the Holley Mason and the Steamplant. But it needed more room as it continued to grow.

That year Worthy — who also owns the downtown Davenport Hotel — helped form a condo association for tenants of the Wells Fargo. During that process INHS agreed to a long-term lease that let INHS move in to the tower. 

That lease was signed just before Worthy sold the building to Prium Spokane Buildings, a Tacoma-based developer. The lease included an INHS option to purchase the leased premises which covered about five floors of the entire building.

Three years later, when the option came up, INHS paid $9.4 million to Prium for the portion of the building it was leasing.

Last week's credit bid, in which INHS took over the remainder from Prium, was brokered by NAI Black's Chris Bell. The price was about $16 million.
  

Wells Fargo Building goes to INHS in foreclosure sale after Prium bankruptcy; Holley Mason also sold

Two of Spokane’s well-known but cash-strapped buildings concluded foreclosure sales Friday, shutting the file on separate cases of large commercial properties falling victim to a distressed real estate market.

The 17-story Wells Fargo Tower at 601 W. First and the six-level Holley Mason Building at 157 S. Howard both formally changed hands, culminating bank repossessions after the previous owners were unable to pay off loans.

Spokane’s Inland Northwest Health Services (INHS) took over about three-fourths of the Wells Fargo building; in 2009 it acquired roughly one-fourth of the building when previous owner Prium Spokane Buildings LLC sold that space for $9.4 million.

At Friday’s sale INHS officially took over the remainder of Prium’s 184,000-square-foot tower for roughly $16.1 million, said John Craig, INHS chief financial officer. Prium, based in Tacoma, did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.

Chris Bell, of NAI Black, represented INHS in the deal.

INHS has about 1,000 employees across the region, with 350 to 400 working in the Wells Fargo building.

Prium bought the building from Spokane developer Walt Worthy for $25 million in 2006. The bank that ended up with the mortgage was Spokane-based Sterling Savings.

Prium Spokane Buildings, a division of Tacoma-based Prium Companies, filed for bankruptcy in late 2010.

INHS is an independent medical services provider that works with area hospitals and providers as well as running the St. Luke’s Rehab Center and other services. It was formed in 1994.

Craig said the INHS board has no plans to sell the Wells Fargo building or portions of it in the near future. Since 2006 INHS has been using the building and is its current largest tenant.

The second largest tenant is Wells Fargo Bank, said Craig. He said Wells Fargo has a naming-rights provision, meaning there will be no change in the building’s name.

The Wells Fargo Tower was originally the Farm Credit Bank Building, constructed in the early 1980s.

In 1998 Metropolitan Mortgage and Securities CEO Paul Sandifur bought the bank building for $11.7 million and used it for his company’s base of operations. The once-high flying company stayed there until mounting debt and angry investors forced Metropolitan to file for bankruptcy in 2004.

A year later Spokane developer Walt Worthy bought the building and renamed it the Wells Fargo Tower after signing Wells Fargo as the anchor tenant.

In addition to the sale of the Wells Fargo, Worthy had a previous Spokane deal with Prium. In 2005 he sold the Rock Pointe Commercial Center north of downtown to Prium for roughly $82 million.

While still in bankruptcy, creditors and Prium continue to wrangle over the Rock Pointe assets, looking for a buyer who would want some or all of the distressed assets of that set of three commercial buildings