There has been a demolition permit applied for the Chancery Building, the anchor structure on the National Register Historic District which has been described as, ” Spokane’s most beautiful street:” a modern glass structure does not in any way add to the beauty of this avenue.
The Chancery was designed by noted Spokane architect Kirtland Cutter in 1910 as the Western Union Life Insurance Building. The building underwent a significant expansion and redesign by another renowned Spokane architect, Gustav Pehrson.
In 1966, the building was sold to the Spokane Roman Catholic Diocese and served as home to the Diocese for over 40 years. In 2006, the Diocese sold the property, but remained tenants until they vacated this last year.
Unfortunately, the Catholic Church does not put its properties on the local, state or national registers. Being an integral part of a National Register District offers no protection against demolition. It does have the power to delay this action.
This building is definitely a candidate for local, state or national registers, which would provide many available tax incentives to help finance a restoration.
Using tax incentives to restore this beautiful old building into large and small condominiums could be done. Sitting across the street from Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral to its east, and across the Riverside Avenue from the Spokane Club allows an easy walk to downtown which would be a strong selling point.
As a past adviser for the National Trust for Historic Preservation for nine years, I can say with certainty that In the Eastern part of this country, and certainly in Europe, this would never be allowed.
I urge Spokane residents to contact the Cowles family and express their disappointment in this plan.