Preparing a home for Met
Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities plans to begin moving into its 18-story high-rise in downtown Spokane this coming spring
Chad CainJanuary 15th, 1998
Walker Construction Inc., of Spokane, has begun remodeling the Farm Credit Banks Building downtown for Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities Co., the big Spokane financial-services company that bought the high-rise last year. Metropolitan plans to relocate its headquarters there this spring.
Metropolitan spokesman Erik Skaggs says Walker began remodeling about 90,500 square feet of floor space in the 18-story building last month and expects to complete the project later this spring. The company then will begin moving its Spokane operations there from six other downtown buildings that it owns and occupies.
Metropolitan bought the Farm Credit tower, located at 601 W. First, last spring for about $11.7 million from AgAmerica Farm Credit Bank, which had moved its headquarters to Sacramento, Calif. The building also had housed the headquarters of Northwest Farm Credit Services, a Spokane-based lender for AgAmerica. That institution recently moved to a new building in the Sunset Pointe Business Park on Sunset Hill, vacating about 70,000 square feet of floor space in the 15-year-old Farm Credit Banks Building.
Metropolitan is having Walker remodel slightly more than half of the 172,000 square feet of usable space in the 262,200-square-foot building. Skaggs declines to release the amount that Metropolitan expects to spend on the remodeling project. The only permit application the city of Spokane has received on the project so far is an application for selective demolition, says Bob Eugene, a city building official. No estimated cost has to be submitted for such an application.
Skaggs says, however, that most of the floors of the building will be involved, to varying degrees, in the renovation work. Walker also will build stairwells between each floor.
Five of the floors in the building currently are vacant. Those floors, which average about 10,600 square feet of usable space each, will be completely remodeled. The other 13 floors either are fully or partially occupied by tenants. Walker will remodel the vacant space on those 13 floors, and the space currently occupied will be renovated as it becomes vacant.
Skaggs says negotiations are under way with most of the tenants in the building, including Washington State University at Spokane, Pegasus Gold Corp., and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. He says that Metropolitan isnt kicking anyone out the door, but the companys long-term goal is to occupy the entire building with its own operations. We can use every square foot we can get, he says.
Skaggs says that Metropolitan, which will rename the Farm Credit Banks Building in April, will move in phases, but has yet to determine which departments will move first. He declines to disclose the new name until later this spring.
Currently, 500 employees work at Metropolitans downtown locations. It occupies four connected buildings on a city block the company owns completely and refers to as the Metro Block, which is bounded by Sprague Avenue on the north, Monroe Street on the west, First Avenue on the south, and Lincoln Street on the east. It also has space in two other buildings that it owns and occupies leased space on one floor of the Chronicle Building, at 926 W. Sprague.
Skaggs says the company initially will continue to use about 18,500 square feet of the approximately 80,000 square feet of space at its current locations. We will continue to maintain a presence on the Metro Block, he says.
When the company eventually moves all of its downtown operations to the Farm Credit tower, Skaggs says the company wont just hang a For Lease sign on the doors. He says Metropolitan, which also owns The Metropolitan Performing Arts Center at 901 W. Sprague, as part of its Metro Block, would like to do something with the buildings it vacates so that they support the Davenport Arts Community, such as using the buildings as shops for artisans, in addition to other mixed uses.
ALSC Architects PS, of Spokane, is the architect on the remodeling of the Farm Credit Banks Building.
Metropolitan is a family-owned business that has more than $1.3 billion in assets. Along with buying real estate contracts, it sells securities, manages a real estate portfolio, and operates an insurance subsidiary.