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

Former Hazen & Jaeger Funeral Home building on Monroe Street sells for $1.1 million

The Hazen and Jaeger Funeral Home building, located at 1306 N. Monroe St., sold for $1.1 million in November. The new owner may convert the building into luxury apartments or condominiums. (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review)

The former Hazen & Jaeger Funeral Home building on Monroe Street has been sold to a buyer who plans to retain the historic character of the structure while redeveloping its interior.

AJB Monroe Operating Company LLC, whose principal is Benjamin Milbrath, purchased the 30,000-square-foot, two-story building at 1306 N. Monroe St. in November for $1.1 million, according to data from the Spokane County Assessor’s Office.

“I happened to be driving down Monroe (Street) and it just caught my eye,” Milbrath said, referring to the historic building. “I thought if I could get into it at the right price point, it looked like a great opportunity.”

Milbrath is a financial advisor and senior vice president of Great Northern Investment Partners, a member of Great Falls, Montana-based financial services holding company D.A. Davidson & Co.

Milbrath said he has not yet decided on a use for the building – which was constructed in 1922 – because the interior needs to be evaluated to determine the type of project it can accommodate.

It is certain, however, the building will not be used for funeral-related purposes due to a deed restriction that was imposed as a condition of the sale.

“It’s one of the prettiest buildings in town. It’s going to take us a bit of time to figure out what the highest and best use is,” Milbrath said. “The building is so beautiful and we want to preserve as much of the exterior as we can. My guess is it could become luxury apartments or condos, at least on the second floor.”

Milbrath said he’s open to the idea of redeveloping the first floor into commercial or office space for prospective tenants.

The Hazen & Jaeger Funeral Home building is located in an Opportunity Zone, which has “a lot of benefit and helps development,” Milbrath said.

Opportunity Zones were created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur job creation and development by offering tax breaks to investors with properties in designated low-income census tracts.

Texas-based Dignity Memorial chose to sell the Hazen & Jaeger building – which included two large chapels, three apartments and its own crematorium – due to the shifting landscape of the funeral industry.

Hazen & Jaeger general manager Leila Bradish told The Spokesman-Review in January that it didn’t make business sense to keep the funeral home open in a building that large because it was only hosting around two funerals a month.

Hazen & Jaeger consolidated the funeral home into its Spokane Valley location, and the Monroe Street property was listed for sale in October 2019.

The property listing said the location is “ideal for residential development or for an owner-user such as a law firm, school or church.”

Kiemle Hagood commercial property broker Jamie Moesges, who listed the building on the market, declined to comment on the number of offers the property received prior to its sale.

But, she told The Spokesman-Review in January “there was a lot of interest so far” in the building.

John B. Hazen and Charles P. Jaeger founded Hazen & Jaeger Funeral Home in 1910 prior to moving into the Monroe Street building.

In 1955, Hazen & Jaeger opened its Spokane Valley location.

Both Hazen & Jaeger facilities joined Dignity Memorial’s network in 1999.

Milbrath aims to start redevelopment on the building next year.