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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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McKinley School mixed-use project moves forward

InterUrban Development’s plans to redevelop the historic McKinley School are progressing after it recently obtained a zoning change for the site.

InterUrban Development submitted a building permit application with the city of Spokane in late December to transform the former school building into office, dining and residential space at 120 N. Magnolia St.

More than 17,000-square feet of the building will be restaurant and bar space, while nearly 9,000 square feet will be office space. The remaining 26,000-square feet will accommodate residential units, according to the application.

An environmental review submitted to the Washington state Department of Ecology indicated the mixed-use project will include 19 housing units and nine commercial spaces.

InterUrban Development received approval in November from the city for a comprehensive-plan amendment to change the McKinley School site from light industrial to center and corridor zoning.

“We are pleased to receive the zone change after working through a lengthy, two-and-a-half-year process,” Todd Dvorak, spokesman for InterUrban Development, said in an email. “We are now awaiting a permit for the shell and core renovation part of this project. We are still working on our plans for this historic building and hope to share those soon.”

InterUrban Development declined to comment further on additional project details.

The permit valuation for the McKinley School project is $4 million, according to the application.

InterUrban’s plans to redevelop the McKinley School began in 2016 when it announced it would be redeveloping it into a mixed-use project with a brewery/distillery, restaurants, retail and office space.

The Spokane-based firm, headed by developer Rob Brewster, slightly changed those plans in December 2020.

Steve DeWalt, a development associate for InterUrban Development, told The Spokesman-Review in 2020 that the firm had to rethink the project due to the pandemic, and indicated they might convert the building’s lower level into restaurant space with the upper floors dedicated to apartments and office space.

At that time, DeWalt did not specify a construction timeline for the project.

Seattle-based Scott Ballard Architecture is designing the project. Baker Construction, of Spokane, is the project contractor, according to the permit application.

The McKinley School, built in 1902, opened during “a period of explosive growth for Spokane and for the Union Park neighborhood east of the downtown area,” according to the Spokane City/County Historic Preservation Office.

In 1903, the Spokane School Board authorized a nine-room addition to the school in response to overcrowding in classrooms. A pre-vocational training program for boys in the seventh, eighth and ninth grades was added by 1917.

The McKinley School closed in 1962 due to declining enrollment, according to the historic preservation office.

The Spokane School District sold the property to a transfer company at public auction and its grounds were used as truck parking.

School Yard Billy LLC, whose principal is Brewster, purchased the property in 2016 for $950,000, Spokane County Assessor’s Office records show.

McKinley School LLC, whose principal is DeWalt, acquired the property from Brewster for $950,000 in April 2020, according to the assessor’s office.

Spokane County approves permit for Project Gray

Spokane County has approved a $23.5 million building permit for Project Gray, a large warehouse near Amazon’s existing fulfillment center on the West Plains.

Columbus, Ohio-based Ford & Associates Architects Inc. – a firm whose clients include Amazon – submitted the permit application in December for the more than 278,000-square-foot warehouse at 6125 S. Hayford Road.

The permit shows more than 261,000-square feet of the warehouse will be used for storage and 17,000-square feet for commercial space.

A traffic study for the warehouse, which is directly west of Amazon’s fulfillment center at 10010 W. Geiger Blvd., indicated it would operate as “a cross-dock truck terminal and sorting of packages would occur on-site.”

The site will also include 80 loading docks, 500 parking spaces and 360 truck stalls, according to the environmental review.

That study also stated more than 700 employees are expected to work at the warehouse when complete in 2022.

Irvine, California-based Panattoni Development Co. Inc. is listed as a contact on the permit application.

Panattoni is an international-real estate firm specializing in industrial, office and built-to-suit development with 28 offices in the U.S., Europe and Canada.

It’s linked to multiple Amazon projects nationwide, including the e-commerce giant’s Spokane Valley fulfillment center.

Amazon’s name is not attached to the building permit for Project Gray, but the company is known to use code names in the design phases of its projects.

The company’s West Plains fulfillment center was listed as Project Rose in its initial building permit application in 2018.

Amazon also referred to its Spokane Valley fulfillment center as Project Fireball in permit applications before it confirmed the project in February.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on whether it’s involved in Project Gray.

San Antonio, Texas-based LM Logistics REIT II purchased the warehouse site from West Plains Development LLC for $7.1 million in October, according records..

The project contractor is Tualatin, Oregon-based Perlo Construction.

Developer considering car wash, coffee shop

A developer is considering plans to redevelop the former Appleway RV site on Sprague Avenue in Spokane Valley into a car wash and coffee shop.

Rathdrum, Idaho-based Paul Matthews Architects filed a pre-development application with the city on behalf of Larry Sarff to build a 2,600-square-foot-tunnel car wash and 800-square-foot coffee shop on three parcels of land near the southwest corner of Sprague Avenue and Girard Road.

An existing 2,400-square-foot building on the site will house mechanical rooms, while the southeast corner of the lot will be dedicated to future development.

The estimated project valuation is $500,000, according to the application.

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