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

The Dirt: Columbia Building, NAI Black, the Dirt, Spokane

Black Enterprises has filed an application to change the six-story Columbia Building’s use from commercial to multifamily, which will make way for 50 “turnkey” apartments on the upper five floors of the structure at 107 S. Howard St. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Black Enterprises is planning a $3.5 million project to convert the historic Columbia Building in downtown Spokane into a mixed-use site with several apartments on the upper floors.

Black Enterprises has filed an application to change the six-story building’s use from commercial to multifamily, which will make way for 50 “turnkey” apartments on the upper five floors of the structure at 107 S. Howard St.

NAI Black will take advantage of the historic designation and real estate tax exemptions to redevelop the building, according to the real estate firm’s 2019 market report.

NAI Black occupied the Columbia Building – also known as the James S. Black Building – for more than 46 years before the company moved to 801 W. Riverside Ave. in 2018.

The Columbia Building houses The Wave Island Sports Grill & Bar and Fusion Juice on the first floor.

The project architect is Spokane Valley-based Mercier Architecture. The project contractor is Spokane-based Baker Construction.

The Columbia Building was built in 1907 for Judge George Turner, the property’s original owner. Turner, a Spokane pioneer, was one of Spokane’s “most celebrated and successful lawyers,” according to a Spokane Register of Historic Places nomination.

Turner commissioned early Spokane architects Herman Preusse and Julius Zittel to design the building, which was one of Spokane’s first fireproof structures after a fire in 1889 destroyed 30 blocks in downtown Spokane.

Turner served as an associate Washington state Supreme Court justice and a U.S. senator and was a leader in drafting the Washington state Constitution. He also practiced law at various firms in Spokane.

The Columbia Building – which was added to Spokane’s Register of Historic Places last year – housed several tenants that practiced law, real estate, insurance and health care, among other things.

The building went through several owners before James S. Black and his wife, Marjorie, purchased it in 1970.

Prominent Spokane architect Warren Heylman completed a significant remodel to the building in 1972. The building was dedicated in the 1980s as the James S. Black Building.

NAI Black, a commercial real estate and property management firm, was originally founded as James S. Black & Co. in 1958. It manages more than 4,000 multifamily units and more than 125 commercial properties in Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

Renovations underway for the first Papillon building tenant

Renovations could be underway soon for a new restaurant in the Papillon building on the north bank of the Spokane River.

Papillon Building LLC has filed plans with the city to install a kitchen, fixtures and tables for the Outsider restaurant at 908 N. Howard St.

Ian Wingate, executive chef of the Wandering Table, applied for liquor and business licenses for the restaurant in November.

Spokane Valley-based Gr8 NW Construction LLC is the project contractor.

Outsider restaurant would be the first tenant in the $80 million Papillon Towers development, which was announced by Selkirk Development last year.

The project calls for rehabilitation and expansion of the former Ram Building into a restaurant and retail and office space, in addition to six- and 12-story towers with five levels of indoor parking.

The project’s developers are attempting to raise $30 million by August to fund the project, which lies in an Opportunity Zone.

Opportunity Zones were created as part of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage economic development by allowing investors to forgo taxes on capital gains for a decade.

The project is slated for completion in 2024.

MOD Pizza plans location in Hillyard

MOD Pizza is coming to Hillyard Marketplace, according to an application filed with the city of Spokane.

Issaquah, Washington-based Rainer Retail LLC filed plans to renovate a 3,000-square-foot space in the multitenant Hillyard Marketplace to make way for MOD Pizza.

The project architect is Spokane-based Bernardo|Willis Architects. The project contractor is Associated Construction Inc., also of Spokane.

Seattle couple Scott and Ally Svenson founded MOD Pizza in 2008. The fast-casual, build-your-own pizza chain has since expanded to 460 locations nationwide, including four in Spokane and one in the Coeur d’Alene area