By Jeanne GustafsonThe Spokane Public Facilities District has selected ALSC Architects PS, of Spokane, to perform a feasibility study of the so-called "south block" property downtown where it hopes to expand.
The property, which is bounded by Spokane Falls Boulevard, Main Avenue, and Washington and Bernard streets, is directly south across Spokane Falls from the Spokane Convention Center complex.
The study will cost between $170,000 and $200,000, and a contract for it likely will be approved by the PFD board on Nov. 11, says Kevin Twohig, executive director of the district. The district still is completing work on defining the scope of the study, but anticipates that it will explore three possible phases for expansion of the convention center facilities, and will develop preliminary cost estimates for the board to consider further, Twohig says. The way things currently are envisioned, in phase one the district would create a surface parking facility there; in phase two it would develop a parking garage on the property; and in phase three it would expand the Spokane Convention Center, Twohig says.
The study should be completed in the first quarter of next year, and the district hopes to begin working on phase one as early as next summer, he says.
Its plans have hinged, however, on acquiring the property. For years, the PFD, which already owns part of the block, has been trying to buy the rest of the land from the other owners there, including Seattle-based Diamond Parking Inc. and Spokane architect Glen Cloninger, who owned more than half of the block, partly with partners. The PFD recently completed the $7 million purchase of Cloninger's property.
In January, the city filed a condemnation action against Diamond Parking Inc., which manages numerous parking lots here and in other U.S. cities, to acquire property that company owns on the south block. Spokane County Superior Court Judge Robert Austin currently is considering a motion by Diamond Parking to dismiss the suit. He could issue a ruling on the motion within the next two months, says Robert Dunn, the Spokane attorney who represents Diamond Parking in the case.
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