The Spokane City Council took the first step Monday night to extend a line of credit to Ron Wells, who plans to revamp the old Ridpath Hotel into apartments over the next year.
The panel voted 5 to 1 to begin moving funds in anticipation of extending a $1.75 million loan to Wells, who has emerged as the developer likely to repurpose the hotel that shuttered in 2008. City Councilman Mike Fagan was the lone vote against.
The city’s loan amount will come from income generated through discontinued federal rental assistance programs, not the local taxpayer-supported general fund.
Steve Antoinette, another developer who worked on the building and still envisions it as a hotel, told council members he still had a path to buying the Ridpath. But Wells said he had locked up ownership of 84 percent of the building, and the council’s loan, along with funds sought after from the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, would allow him to take control of the rest.
“We think you’ll be proud of the result,” Wells told council members. “Actually, we know you’ll be proud of the result.”
The project, which Wells says will bring an additional 206 housing units downtown priced for students and early career professionals, is expected to cost $19.5 million. Wells will go before the Housing Finance Commission in Olympia later this month.
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