Spokane developer Ron Wells has changed his design plans for the former city fire station on the west end of downtown.
He now envisions building 10 three-story townhouses on the 15,500-square-foot property on Adams between Sprague and First. Originally, he proposed building a seven-story mixed-use condominium tower with ground floor retail, parking and 41 residential units above.
Wells’ $500,005 offer was the top bid for the city property and beat out two other development teams who suggested similar projects. However, preliminary cost estimates for the two levels of parking came in about $1.2 million more than Wells had estimated.
“We discovered unfortunately the building would have generated in excess of a million-dollar loss in terms of what we could sell them for,” Wells said. “Nobody’s built a building like that before in downtown Spokane. I think the real question is how to justify the cost of a two-story parking garage with five stories of condos on top.”
The condominiums Wells planned were to range in size from 770 to 1,820 square feet and in price from $169,000 to $399,000.
The 10 townhouses also will be sold as condominiums and will range in size from 1,900 to 3,100 square feet, Wells said. Each will have a ground-floor, two-car garage.
Wells did not have a cost estimate as the design is still being appraised, he said. The project should be more certain on March 15, when the appraisal is complete, he said. Regardless of how the appraisal comes out, Wells said he has too much invested in that property not to build condominiums of some sort there.
“We’re committed to building something on that site that’s the highest and best use, but also economically viable,” he said. “We have every reason to believe this is feasible.”
Dave Mandyke, the city’s deputy director of public works, said the sale of the former fire station still should close on April 1 because Wells’ new project is “in the spirit of what was originally proposed.”
Proceeds from the sale of the property will be used to offset the $2.5 million the city spent to build a new fire station a few blocks to the west. City Fire Chief Bobby Williams has said the new station was needed because the old one, built in 1964, was too small.
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