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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane’s Ridpath Hotel on city’s historic register

The Ridpath Hotel and its east wing building have been added to the Spokane Register of Historic Places.

The vote by the Spokane City Council will make the troubled and empty hotel eligible for a special property tax assessment and give the owner a property tax cut for a decade.

Two weeks ago the Washington State Advisory Council on Historic Preservation voted to list the two buildings on the state historic register and to recommend their listings on the national register.

The national register recommendation, which is pending with the National Park Service, would make the 1952 Ridpath eligible for a 20 percent federal preservation tax credit.

Both tax incentives are calculated into a $17 million plan by Wells and Co. to convert the hotel and adjacent wing into 236 housing units with about half of them renting for $400 a month as “micro” studios.

The restoration of the Ridpath would come after the hotel closed in 2008 and fell into a tangle of ownerships, including those of Gregory Jeffreys, who remains jailed on federal charges – including some tied to the Ridpath.

To be eligible for historic registers, a building must be at least 50 years old.

Council members approved the listing without comment.

The Ridpath sits on the site of an original five-story hotel built by Col. William Ridpath in 1900.

That hotel burned in 1950, and Ridpath family members built the existing tower as a modern urban hotel in the straight-lined international architectural style of the day.

For years, the Ridpath was considered a top destination. Among its many features was a drive-up lobby connected to its underground parking. Its landmark sign still stands above the 13th floor.

In other business, the council accepted an $81,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to help police purchase three new automated license plate readers and patrol rifles.

The city already has five of the high-tech plate readers, so the grant will bring the total to eight, said police Chief Frank Straub.

He said he wants to locate two readers in fixed locations above streets where stolen vehicles might turn up. He declined to identify the locations.

Council members said they are encouraged by police efforts to reduce the number of vehicles being stolen in the city.

“We know we have a significant problem with car thefts,” said Councilman Steve Salvatori.