A 120-year-old architectural gem in Browne’s Addition has changed hands after a group of investors purchased the Patsy Clark Mansion with plans to keep much of its 12,000-square-feet devoted to office space while also increasing public access.
“Our goal really is to further open it up to the community a bit,” Steve DeWalt, a member of the new ownership group, said Tuesday afternoon.
Under its previous owners, the nine-bedroom, five-bathroom home designed by renowned Spokane architect Kirtland Cutter was largely used as office space.
DeWalt said he and his fellow investors plan to maintain that use on the top two floors of the 3½-story building, which is included on the National Register of Historic Places.
The law firm Eymann Allison Hunter Jones, P.S., which bought the building for $1.03 million in February 2003 and owned it until Monday, will consolidate its footprint but remain in the building, sharing the second floor with another legal firm.
InterUrban Development, where DeWalt works as a development associate, will lease space on the third floor.
That leaves the first floor available for more public events, such as weddings, corporate retreats, holiday parties and fundraisers, a news release said.
“We’re looking to continue to have the ground floor open to public activities and make it more accessible to the public,” DeWalt said. “I think that’s really important.”
He said he and his fellow investors are also considering “some really preliminary ideas” for a two-story, 3,600-square-foot carriage house behind the mansion, including some uses that would be open to the public.
DeWalt rattled off a few possibilities for what he described as a “super cool structure,” including turning it into a coffee shop or apartments, but also noted that it could become “something totally different that we haven’t even explored yet.”
“We’re excited to figure out how best to reutilize that structure,” he said.
While DeWalt declined to say how much he and his partners paid for the mansion, it has been on the market for $2.1 million for a year.
DeWalt also said he didn’t want to name his fellow investors, though a news release announcing the purchase also identified Spokane native Jonathan McKay as being involved.
“It’s a private deal, and we’re trying not to focus on the people,” DeWalt said. “We all love Spokane. We’re deeply rooted in the Spokane community, and we really want to see this community asset continue to be a great community asset and further its life into the future.”
The future of the mansion, DeWalt said, is tied to its rich past .
The mansion’s namesake was a son of Ireland who came to the United States in 1870 and amassed fortune after working and managing a series of mines around the American and Canadian West.
After settling in Spokane, he and his wife, Mary, commissioned the then up-and-coming local architect Cutter in 1889 to travel widely in search of ideas, materials and craftsmen to inform and construct an opulent home that took about a decade to complete.
When work was done around 1898, it served as the Clarks’ family home until 1926, when a widowed Mary moved to the nearby Westminster Apartments.
A new family moved in for the next two decades, but after 1946, the mansion cycled through various uses, including as a rooming house, restaurant and inn.
Though it came close to demolition after a new owner took over in 1969, it survived to become a restaurant, Patsy Clark’s, in 1982.
After taking ownership in 2002, Eymann Allison Hunter Jones embarked on a painstaking restoration of the building, including refurbishing the woodwork and putting on a new roof.
John Allison, a partner in the firm, told The Spokesman-Review last year that he and his fellow owners worked with consultants to ensure historical accuracy in everything from paint color to lighting fixtures. He also said the firm was seeking a buyer who would maintain that level of care.
“We just don’t want to sell to anybody,” Allison said in November 2019. “We are looking for the next stewards.”
DeWalt said he and his partners take that responsibility seriously.
“I think that we definitely feel incredibly fortunate to take on the stewardship of a building like this,” DeWalt said.
Megan Duvall, historic preservation officer for the city of Spokane and Spokane County, said in a news release that she was “delighted to learn that a local team will be the next stewards of this incredibly important historic property in Browne’s Addition.”
“Nearly everybody in Spokane has ties to the building,” DeWalt added. “All of those personal community experiences are something that we love about the place, along with the physical structure and the architecture.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect that Mary Clark did not die until 1948.
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