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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Dirt: Transformation of historic Stowell Drug into mixed-use building underway

By Amy Edelen and Nicholas Deshais The Spokesman-Review

A major renovation of the historic Stowell Drug and Assay building on West Sprague Avenue in downtown Spokane has completely gutted the two-story building.

When complete, the building at 415 and 417 W. Sprague Ave. will have four apartments upstairs and retail tenants on the ground floor.

“It was in pretty rough shape,” said Titus Hug, the general contractor on the project, who said it took a “ton of demo” to get it ready for construction.

Work began this summer, and Hug anticipates the building will be complete sometime next year. The location is probably best known for housing Irv’s, a popular gay bar. More recently it housed Stray.

It was built in 1892 and was primarily known as the location of a drugstore opened by W.H. Stowell and C. M. Fassett. Fassett had a chemical and assaying shop on Monroe Street north of the river in 1890. Stowell is first noted in Spokane in 1892, when he opened a store in the Eagle Block at Riverside Avenue and Stevens Street.

In 1912, the drugstore moved to the Sprague location and remained there until 1960.

According to Robery Hyslop’s book, Building Blocks, Stowell and Fassett were the only assayers in town, “as long as that peculiarly western profession remained a viable business. Stowell combined his analytical chemistry with the business of medicines and prescriptions, while the Fassett company connected it with chemical supplies and materials testing.”

The building was purchased by B&H Enterprises in 2008 for $1.5 million. John Heath, president of Washington Trust Bank, and George Bourekis own B&H.

The architect is Jim Haines, of Spokane’s Haines Architectural Services. – N.D.

North Idaho Eye Institute adding Hayden office

The North Idaho Eye Institute is expanding its medical practice with construction of a third office in Hayden.

The 7,000-square-foot building will consist of 11 exam rooms, Lasik and visual-field testing rooms as well as staff offices and support areas.

The $2 million building is expected to be completed in early 2019. The architect for the project is Hayden-based Longwell + Trapp.

The general contractor is Spokane Valley-based Meridian Construction and Development Inc., whose more recent projects include the CHAS Denny Murphy Clinic in Spokane.

The North Idaho Eye Institute, with offices in Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls, has provided eye care since 1966. – A.E.

Pemco Insurance office

expanding Valley office

Pemco Insurance is planning an expansion of its office at the River View Corporate Center in Spokane Valley.

Pemco will expand into an unused fourth-floor suite to create a 9,000-square-foot office in the building at 16201 E. Indiana Ave., according to building permits filed with the city.

Project improvements total more than $335,000, according to the permits.

Bloch Properties LLC, which owns several shopping centers in Seattle, purchased the River View Corporate Center in May for $37.9 million from notable Spokane developer and hotelier Walt Worthy.

General contractor for the project is Spokane-based Clearwater Summit Group Inc. The architect for the expansion is Bellevue-based Haynes Wilson Lund Architects LLC.

Pemco Insurance was founded in 1949 by Robert J. Handy. The company has since grown to become a large provider of auto, home, boat and umbrella insurance in the Northwest. – A.E.

City permits issued

for residential tower

A seven-story residential tower will be built along First Avenue on the western fringe of downtown Spokane, according to permits issued by the city.

When complete, which is anticipated next summer, the upper six levels will have 51 apartment units and a fitness room. The first floor will be built as unfinished shell for a commercial tenant and will include a residential lobby.

In all, the building at 1309 W. First Ave. will have nearly 53,000 square feet. It’s valued at $9.5 million in city documents.

The project is being developed by two sets of brothers: Jordan and Joel Tampien, co-owners of 4 Degrees Real Estate, and Matt and Ryan Goodwin.

Matt Goodwin and Jordan Tampien are co-owners of the Boiler Room on Spokane’s North Side and Backyard Public House in the West Central neighborhood. Goodwin also co-owns Press, Fast Eddie’s Bar and Grill, Remedy and the Volstead Act.

The project’s general contractor is T.W. Clark Construction, of Spokane Valley. Trek Architecture, of Spokane, designed the building. – N.D.

Reporter Nicholas Deshais may be reached at (509) 459-5440 or

Contact reporter Amy Edelen at (509) 459-5581 or

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