A development company headed by Spokane businessman Don Barbieri plans to build a multimillion-dollar, five-story luxury-condominium building on the north bank of the Spokane River, just west of the Flour Mill downtown.
The company, Upper Falls LLC, expects to start work by fall on the 28-unit, 108,000-square-foot structure, to be called Upper Falls Condominiums. The living units, all of which will have views of the river, Riverfront Park, and downtown, are expected to be completed by summer 2006, he says.
The marketplace has had a huge interest in downtown housing, Barbieri says. This site lends itself to high-quality downtown living.
The structure is to be built on the site of a surface parking lot next to the Flour Mill retail and office building and across Mallon Avenue from Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, Barbieri says.
Prices for a finished condominium unit are expected to start at $400,000, but its unclear so far what price the larger units and penthouse suites will command, he says.
Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects, of Portland, is designing the Upper Falls building. That company has designed a number of high-end apartment and condominium buildings in the Portland area.
A contractor for the project hasnt been selected yet. Barbieri says the projects construction cost hasnt been finalized, and he declines to give an estimate. If all the units sold for the minimum condo unit cost, though, the project would be worth at least $11.2 million.
As designed, each of the first four floors of the structure will include six living units that will range in size from about 1,900 square feet of floor space to about 2,700 square feet of space. All will have south-facing decks.
The four penthouse suites will have between 3,050 square feet of floor space and about 3,300 square feet of space, with larger decks.
The structure also will include a level of underground parking that Barbieri says will include enough slots to accommodate the buildings residents.
The building is being designed to include a prominent amount of brick and will have some architectural features similar to those in the historic Flour Mill.
Barbieri is chairman of WestCoast Hospitality Corp and served as that companys president and CEO from 1978 to 2003.
Upper Falls LLCs owners are three real estate-investment and development companies involving Barbieri, hotel executive Sharon Smith, developer Mark Conroe, and real estate investor Maxwell Drever.
A company Drever founded, GVL Investors LP, owns the Flour Mill. Four years ago, he mulled developing a 100,000-square-foot office-and-retail building on what now is the planned Upper Falls site, but decided against moving forward with such a project.
Barbieri says a condominium project is a better fit for that site at this time, and other projects in the neighborhood will make the area more appealing for people interested in urban living. Specifically, he cites the city of Spokanes plans to convert the nearby Post Street bridge into a pedestrian bridge, providing another walking route to the citys core from the envisioned building. Also, he says, Coeur dAlene developer Marshall Chesrowns planned mixed-used development on the former Summit property, a few blocks west of the Upper Falls site, is expected to include additional walking trails and retail shops in the future.
I believe we need to continue to look for great sites for housing and to position downtown Spokane as a 24-hour downtown, Barbieri says.
Cyrus Vaughn, a Spokane businessman best known for starting Cyrus OLearys restaurant downtown and Cyrus OLearys Pies, says hes known Drever for a long time and has told him that the site would be a good one for a condominium building.
I still have kids in school, but Im still thinking about buying one, either to live in or as an investment, Vaughn says. Theres going to be some real appreciation for the first buyers there.
In addition to being involved in developing a couple of riverfront hotels downtownthe Red Lion Inn at the Park and the Red Lion River InnBarbieri has been involved in building a number of housing projects in and near that citys core. Those include the Riverpoint condominium development, just north of the Riverpoint Higher Education Park in Spokanes University District, and affordable housing projects, such as the Park Tower Apartments, at 217 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.
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