Spokane developer Mick McDowell says construction of an 11-story, $60 million retail and office building that he and his wife, Shelley, are proposing at the east end of downtown could begin by this fall.
The construction schedule will depend, though, on how quickly he can round up tenants for the structure, McDowell says.
Its going to be totally market-driven, he says. As soon as half the space is spoken for, Ill start the project.
Plans call for the 150-foot-tall tower, tentatively called the Gateway Building, to include nearly 18,000 square feet of restaurant and other retail space on the main floor, four floors of parking, and 152,000 square feet of office space on the six upper floors.
The four floors of parking would provide 440 parking spaces, which would be enough to meet the needs of the buildings tenants, McDowell says. As currently envisioned, counting those floors, the building would have a total of more than 365,000 square feet of space.
It would be constructed on a large, mostly undeveloped site on the north side of Riverside Avenue stretching from Division Street to the citys Fire Station No. 1. The McDowells own the east end of the site, along Division, and the city owns the rest of the property, which is used as a parking lot for Fire Department employees.
If its built, the tower would be the latest in a series of projects that have begun to enliven the once decaying east end of downtown. One of those is the 3-year-old AmericanWest Bank Building, located nearby at 41 W. Riverside, that a company headed by Mick McDowell developed. The project also would infuse a sizable amount of new premium office space into the downtown market.
McDowell says the project is a large enough financial undertaking that he will seek to assemble a group of investors who would develop it through a limited-liability corporation. Steven A. Meek Architects, of Spokane, designed the building, but a contractor hasnt been selected yet.
The Spokane City Council recently authorized the McDowells to lease the land it owns there on a long-term basis as part of an agreement to end a lawsuit that the couple had brought against the city last year. Also to halt that litigation, the council unanimously approved plans for a 17-story condo tower, called Riverview on Riverside, that the McDowells plan to develop west of downtown on a bluff near the intersection of Riverside and Cedar Street that overlooks the Spokane River.
The McDowells lawsuit stemmed from the city hearing examiners denial of an earlier condo tower project that the couple had proposed for that site. The hearing examiner based his decision on height limitations that the city adopted in 2002, well after the McDowells had begun formulating plans for their project. Those limitations, among other things, placed a 35-foot maximum height for residential buildings there.
The McDowells claimed they werent notified beforehand about proposed changes in the height restrictions. They also contended that the rules didnt make sense, because the tower would have complied with city height restrictions if it was filled with offices rather than residences. Along with taking the action to end the McDowells lawsuit, the City Council passed a measure to correct the use-dependent height discrepancy.
Some Peaceful Valley residents opposed the condo tower, complaining that it would cast a shadow over their homes and detract from the neighborhoods historic character, but proponents countered that it would help invigorate the downtown area. Mick McDowell argues that the project is consistent with growth-management laws that encourage higher-density development near urban centers.
Riverview on Riverside is expected to have 52 condo units and about 170,000 square feet of floor space overall, he says. He estimates the total cost of that project at about $35 million.
McDowell says he and his wife have formed a limited-liability company to develop the project, and that he is interviewing potential contractors. Also, he says that hes working to bring together the financial resources needed to develop the project without having to pre-sell a certain number of condos.
Construction could begin this summer and be completed late next year, he says.
Contact Kim Crompton at (509) 344-1263 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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