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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Office Hours

Texas firm buys Jensen-Byrd property, plans Riverpoint student housing

A Texas company has purchased the Jensen-Byrd building and property at the Washington State University Spokane site and plans to convert it to student housing and possible commercial space.

The buyer is Campus Advantage, based in Austin. The purchase for $2.85 million was approved Tuesday by WSU regents via a phone conference.

The Jensen-Byrd property covers about 1.5 acres on the west end of the Riverpoint campus, east of downtown Spokane. An appraisal set the value of the 35,173-square-foot complex at $2.9 million. (This figure was listed as $2.1 million in earlier versions, and came from a 2001 appraisal. The newer appraisal was done in 2011.)

The property has three components: the original structure built in 1909, an addition made one year later, and a metal storage shed added in the 1970s. The structure has been vacant for more than 10 years.

The university tried twice in recent years to find a partner to develop the building, without success.

A WSU Spokane press release said Campus Advantage has built and manages student housing on or near university campuses in 21 states.  A Riverpoint Campus Master Plan notes that the area of the Jensen-Byrd building is suitable for housing and mixed uses.

Archive photo shows Matt Cohen, a Spokane historic preservation advocate, near the Jensen-Byrd building.

The WSU press release also noted 3,500 students attend class on the Riverpoint Campus, and the area has limited options for student housing nearby.

A WSU spokesman said questions about the building's conversion or demolition need to be answered by Campus Advantage.

Tom Sowa
Tom Sowa covers technology, retail and economic development and writes the Office Hours blog.