Holley Mason upgrade gets financial backing
Rehabilitation of historic downtown building now expected to cost $5 million
Kim CromptonJuly 30th, 1998
Real estate investor and developer Rob Brewster Jr. says he has secured financing for the rehabilitation of the long-vacant Holley Mason Building in downtown Spokane and expects initial cleanup of the historic six-story structure to begin in mid-August.
The renovation project is expected to take about a year to complete and now is projected to cost about $5 million, which is about $1 million more than estimated previously.
United Security Bank, of Spokane, has agreed to provide both construction and long-term financing for the project, Brewster says. Walker Construction Inc., of Spokane, will be the general contractor, he says.
Spokane School District 81 has been considering leasing most of the building, at 157 S. Howard, to house nearby Lewis and Clark High Schools 1,550 students for two years while the venerable school undergoes a major renovation and expansion. That $42 million project is scheduled to begin next year. Brewster says he expects to have an agreement worked out with the school district shortly.
He also is looking for or negotiating with prospective tenants for other spaces in the building. Brewster views the possible school district lease as a springboard for getting the structure restored, and expects to be able to attract additional office tenants to fill up the building after LCs students and faculty leave.
He said earlier that he envisions turning the building into a mixed-used facility, possibly with a restaurant and other retail users on the main floor and high-tech, Internet-style professional offices on most of the upper floors.
He bought the Holley Mason Building about six months ago from Louis and Patricia Dahmen Ray, of Spokane, for $475,000. The 93-year-old structure, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been unoccupied for more than 20 years.
Although Brewster has yet to begin his planned rehabilitation of the 132,000-square-foot building, he already has progressed further toward that goal than previous would-be restorers who had similar plans.
About two years ago, a Spokane couple proposed a project there that was to include a restaurant and retail uses on the first and second floors and a broad mix of alternative health-care providers and wellness facilities on the upper floors. The couples plans stalled, however, when their option to buy the building lapsed before they could line up interim investor financing.
Three years earlier, a California-based company called International Eagle Corp. disclosed plans to develop the Holley Mason into a mixed-use facility providing space for retail, dining, entertainment, and housing activities. That project, however, also failed to materialize.