Spokane Journal of Business

Whatever Happened To: Browne Street Market and Francis Travel Center

Project at old Les Schwab location near downtown to start this summer

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-—South Henry Studios
A “downtown-type” market is envisioned at the Les Schwab Tires store site, located at the southwest corner of Second Avenue and Browne Street, on the periphery of the city center.

Two commercial developments proposed by Spokane businessperson Sam Sidhu and first reported by the Journal in spring 2021 are on track to begin this building season, according to people familiar with each project.

One project is a new truck stop and retail center proposed at the northwest corner of Francis Street and Freya Avenue, in the Hillyard neighborhood of northeast Spokane. A hotel also is envisioned there, though it’s not part of the current permit application.

The other project is a multitenant retail center tentatively named Browne Street Market, which is planned at the former Les Schwab Tire Center, at the southwest corner of Browne Street and Second Avenue, downtown.

The truck stop, tentatively named Francis Travel Center, is planned at 3525 E. Francis, across Francis from the Food Services of America Inc. distribution facility, on the east side of the path of the North Spokane Corridor, which is under construction.

Fusion Architecture, of Spokane, is designing the facility. Rex Anderson, of Fusion Architecture, says the project is close to getting a permit for the truck stop, and then work will be put out to bid.

“The owner is working through entitlement issues with adjacent properties,” Anderson adds.

Permit information shows the initial $8 million portion of the development will include a two story, 12,000-square-foot convenience store with up to four fueling canopies and truck overflow parking.

A sign posted at the site is seeking interest from a fast-food operator to become a tenant at the development.

The project owner, Sam Sidhu, who couldn’t be reached immediately for this article, told the Journal a year ago that he also envisions a hotel at the site to be built in another phase.

Anderson says a hotel isn’t included in the current application, but may still be part of the long-term plan, which will be timed to market conditions. The status of the commercial building permit application, which was submitted to Spokane County in March 2021, still is listed as being in the review stage.

Sidhu purchased the 5-acre development site through real estate holding company TEJ LLC in October 2020 for $1.1 million, according to Spokane County Assessor’s Office records.

Meantime, a building permit application for the Browne Street Market project, at 101 W. Second, also is under review. The permit application, which was submitted to the city of Spokane in December 2020, was recently extended until Nov. 5, at the request of Northern Craftsman Construction, of Spokane, the contractor on the project.

Andrew McLain, owner of Northern Craftsman Construction, says he met with the city last week, and “we should be rocking and rolling within a month or so.”

The project will include renovations initially estimated at $125,000 mainly to the shell of the 7,500-square-foot former tire center, which will be divided into at least three retail spaces.

McLain says the initial emphasis will be on constructing a new façade for the building. Interiors likely will be built to suit later, as tenants are secured, he says.

While no tenants have been named yet, McLain says the developer is “trying to find hip people who want to be in there and turn the area around a little bit.”

He describes the project as a “downtown-type market” that potentially will include a fitness center and a homestyle coffee shop.

Sidhu purchased the site through landholding company 2450 LLC in August 2020 for $925,000, according to assessor’s records.

Sidhu also is listed by the Washington state Department of Revenue as a governing agent for Millwood Grocery & Spirits, at 3049 N. Argonne Road in Millwood, and the Piggy Mart, at 932 W. Third in downtown Spokane.

Mike McLean
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Deputy Editor Mike McLean has worked his entire journalism career in the Inland Northwest. Mike, who also lives to reel in fish and crank up music, has worked for the Journal since 2006.

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