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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Dirt: Rehabilitated hotel in to include restaurant

By Amy Edelen and Nicholas Deshais The Spokesman-Review

A restaurant will be built on the ground floor of the former Otis Hotel, according to permits issued by the city.

The rehabilitation of the hotel, now called Hotel Indigo, is ongoing, but the restaurant permit is the first sign of the impending completion. The reinstallation of the original leaded windows has also signaled an end to work.

The estimated value of work needed to turn 5,600 square feet of the first floor into a restaurant is $150,000. The estimated occupancy of the space is 236 people.

The Otis was built in 1911 as the Willard Hotel, a place for transient workers who rented small rooms and shared a communal bathroom on each floor. The hotel changed hands and names many times over the years – in 45 years it went from the Willard to the Atlantic to the Milner to the Earle to, finally, the Otis in 1956.

While the hotel was always linked to a hardscrabble lifestyle, it became a symbol of downtown’s decay near the end of the 20th century. In the mid-1990s, The Spokesman-Review described the “litter-strewn, two-block strip of West First,” where 400 people paid as little as $140 a month to live, as the city’s “most dangerous downtown neighborhood.”

In 2007, the investment group that owned the Otis evicted its tenants, anticipating renovations “to transform the building into sleek stores and possibly apartments.” Instead, the building sat vacant for a decade following the economic crash of 2008.

In 2017, Curtis Rystadt purchased it for $1.4 million and unveiled plans to get the building back up to code for development, which he has done.

The restaurant space is being designed by Uptic Studios, of Spokane. – N.D.

Novelis planning $5 million expansion to technology center

Atlanta-based Novelis Inc. is planning a major expansion to its Solatens Technology Center in Spokane Valley.

Novelis has filed preliminary plans with the city to build a $5 million, 11,780-square-foot addition to the technology center at 16004 E. Euclid Ave.

In 2011, Novelis moved into the existing facility, which is used to improve molten metal and advanced solidification technology.

Nashville, Tennessee-based Gresham Smith is the project architect.

Novelis, a leading producer of flat-rolled aluminum products and the world’s largest aluminum recycler, operates 23 facilities in nine countries. The company has more than 11,000 employees and generates more than $12 billion in annual revenue.

Novelis launched in 2005 as a spin-off from the Canadian aluminum company Alcan Inc. It was acquired in 2007 by Hindalco Industries Limited and became part of the Aditya Birla Group, a multinational conglomerate based in Mumbai. – A.E.

Local Domino’s franchise owner planning new downtown office with restaurant

A nearly $1 million mixed-use building will replace a 49-year-old fast-food restaurant building on Third Avenue that was demolished earlier this year, according to city permit data.

The new 6,770-square-foot building at 603 W. Third Ave. will have a Domino’s Pizza, corporate offices and a 1,700-square-foot space that has yet to be leased. Its construction is valued at $940,000.

Shane Anderson, who has owned numerous local Domino’s restaurants since 1997, said he decided to construct a new building after he had to move from his location on Third and Post Street when his landlord sold the building to Avista Corp. in October 2018 for $1.4 million.

“Instead of leasing, we’re putting up a really pretty building,” he said, adding that he plans to lease the remaining space to a restaurant.

Anderson said he considered moving out of the city core, but longtime customers and students at Lewis and Clark High School urged him to stay in a central location.

“I feel like we’re part of the fabric right by downtown,” he said. “The community’s been great. We’ve been there 18 years. We have kids that come back” long after graduation.

The two-story building is anticipated to be completed in March, and Anderson plans for a Memorial Day grand opening.

The building that was demolished formerly housed Senor Froggy, Gerardo’s Authentic Mexican Food, Chapala Mexican Restaurant and, briefly, a restaurant called Cinco de Mayo. The 3,000-square-foot building was constructed in 1970 and was purchased in January for $750,000 by 3rd Ave Properties LLC, which is owned by Anderson.

The project’s contractor is Yost Gallagher Construction, of Spokane. Shane Mercier, of Spokane Valley-based Mercier Architecture & Planning, is the architect. – N.D.

Developer planning to build large apartment complex in Spokane Valley

Developer Harlan Douglass is planning to build a large apartment complex near Desmet Court and Indiana Avenue in Spokane Valley.

Douglass purchased more than 12 acres of land at 16609 E. Desmet Court and 1123 N. Flora Road for $3.6 million earlier this year, according to the Spokane County Assessor’s Office.

Plans are underway for a 304-unit apartment complex with 10 buildings, referred to as the Desmet-Quarry Apartments in an environmental review filed with the state in November.

The project would also include a clubhouse, pool, landscaping, parking garages and more than 300 surface parking spaces.

Spokane Valley-based Whipple Consulting Engineers is the project engineer.

Construction is expected to begin later this year, according to the environmental review, but building permits have yet to be filed with the city. A grading permit is currently under review by the city. – A.E.

Contact Nicholas Deshais at (509) 459-5440 or at

Amy Edelen may be reached at (509) 459-5581 or at

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