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.
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