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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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YWCA’s riverfront land sold for $3.2 million

SCAFCO president leads purchasers

Spokane’s YWCA finally has sold its prime riverfront campus.

The property, which overlooks the North Channel of the Spokane River, sold Dec. 9 for $3.2 million to The Falls, said Trish McFarland, executive director of the YWCA of Spokane.

The Falls is a corporation formed this fall by Lawrence Stone, president of SCAFCO, a silo and steel stud manufacturer based in Spokane.

“We are delighted to have it sold,” said Cynthia Benzel, board president of the YWCA of Spokane. “We are looking forward to focusing totally on our mission of helping the women and children of Spokane.”

The purchase is the second significant land acquisition involving Stone in the past few years. In 2009, Stone bid $2.1 million to buy 48 acres of the former Playfair horse track in the East Central neighborhood where Stone is relocating portions of SCAFCO.

The YWCA sale was finalized more than a year after SRM Development reneged on a deal to buy it for $4 million.

In 2005, leaders of the YMCA and YWCA announced that they were selling their downtown riverfront buildings to build a consolidated operation. The new Y, at 930 N. Monroe St., opened in 2009. But the sales of the former buildings stalled as the real estate market collapsed.

The Spokane Park Board voted in 2006 to buy the YMCA building for $5.3 million to incorporate it into Riverfront Park. The deal became controversial and wasn’t finalized until the City Council finished the purchase in 2009. SRM agreed in 2005 to acquire the YWCA, at 829 W. Broadway Ave., and announced plans to build two 14-story condo towers on the site. But the deal fell apart after the real estate market crashed. SRM lost its $250,000 down payment.

It’s unclear what Stone’s intentions are for the property. Attempts to reach him Wednesday and Thursday were unsuccessful. Only last month, however, the city planning department agreed to a YWCA request to grant a one-year extension of the shoreline conditional-use permit that SRM had been issued to build its proposed condo towers, said Ken Pelton, Spokane’s planning manager. Pelton said the permit can’t be extended again. The Falls has until November 2011 to file an application for a building permit to avoid seeking a new shoreline permit.

McFarland said that the final purchase price is enough to complete the YWCA’s and YMCA’s goal of raising $40.5 million, which paid, in part, for the new building.

“It’s the last piece of the puzzle for our capital campaign,” she said.

McFarland said the new space is a big improvement for the organization, but she does miss the surroundings of the former location.

“We’ll always miss the view and wonderful sound of the falls in the spring,” McFarland said. “It’s the best view in town.”

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