The Spokane Public Facilities District has bought the C.I. Shenanigans restaurant building and land downtown for $4.5 million as part of a long-range plan to develop additional convention exhibit space and meeting rooms. The restaurant is to continue to operate there at least for the near term.
The property is located on the south bank of the Spokane River, just west of Division Street and just north of the boat-shaped Group Health Exhibit Hall that's part of the convention-facilities complex the district owns and manages.
Kevin Twohig, the district's executive director, says the PFD acquired the 10,000-square-foot building, at 332 N. Spokane Falls Court, and about an acre of land from Spokane Falls Land Co., of Lakewood, Wash., which developed the building in 1980, when Shenanigans opened there.
The district signed the sale-and-purchase agreement last week, a week after its board had approved the transaction, Twohig says. Also, as the new owner of the property, the district signed a lease with the restaurant owners that includes a renewal option and will enable the restaurant to continue operating there for at least another three years, he says.
Shenanigans, an upscale steakhouse and seafood establishment that has benefited from its location next to the river and Centennial Trail and its proximity to downtown, is owned by Ram International, also of Lakewood, Wash., and employs about 60 people.
Twohig says the district hasn't begun to develop definitive convention-center expansion plans for the property that the restaurant occupies, nor has it set a date for when it would hope to begin construction of such an expansion. Early last year, though, it released a new master plan that includes several potential scenarios for expansion of convention facilities here.
The district owns the Spokane Convention Center, the adjacent INB Performing Arts Center, and the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, located on the other side of the river. The convention center complex includes about 100,000 square feet of exhibit space, 40,000 square feet of meeting rooms, and 25,000 square feet of ballroom space, and stretches along the south bank of the river west of Division, next to the 100-acre Riverfront Park.
The Group Health Exhibit Hall, completed four years ago, was part of a roughly $90 million expansion and renovation project at the convention center.
The project created a building complex that essentially encircles the Shenanigans property, obscuring it from view, and that requires restaurant patrons driving to the restaurant to use a winding access road beneath part of the exhibit hall structure to reach the restaurant's parking lot.
Shenanigans closed its doors for about eight months while construction of the exhibit hall was in full swing because the project hindered access to the restaurant, but the PFD paid the restaurant's owner a sum of money to offset lost business.
The district confirmed several months ago that it was negotiating to buy the Shenanigans property, but said it needed to iron out an unexpected complicationstemming from the property and restaurant operation having separate ownersbefore it could complete the transaction. Twohig said the district began exploring the purchase of the property after being contacted by the property owners, who expressed a readiness to sell it.
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