Spokane Journal of Business

Steam Plant to put spin on its latest event space

Iconic downtown venue to include multisport simulators on second level

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Steam Plant Restaurant & Brew Pub, located in Spokane’s historic Steam Plant Square building downtown, has added a new event space that’s a little outside of the norm, general manager Jeff Cooney says.

The space tentatively is being referred to as the game room, because it currently features a multisport simulator and eventually will include another simulator and a shuffleboard table, says Cooney, who has been with the Steam Plant for over five years.

“It’s a great space for cool events … and really captures that industrial feel,” Cooney says.

The simulator uses a projector and large screen with sensors to create indoor, virtual-reality experiences for a variety of sports and games. The Full Swing Golf product offers 13 different sports, including golf, soccer, football, basketball, baseball, and even zombie dodgeball.

Located on the second floor of the historic Steam Plant building, at 159 S. Lincoln, in downtown Spokane, the space is already being rented out for events, but the full project is still a work in progress.

“We’re moving forward, but it’s still almost a planning phase,” Cooney says. “(We are) taking incremental steps to figure out exactly what we want to turn it into.”

The main section of the game room holds the multisport simulator and has banquet-style seating with space for about 50 people, Cooney says. There is an attached room that is still under construction but eventually will include the second simulator and restrooms, and will increase the guest capacity for the space.

Also attached to the space is a room inside one of the two iconic Steam Plant smokestacks. The circular, brick-lined room has a large table that Cooney says was used as a dessert table at the game room’s last event. To the side of the smokestack room is a long stretch of space that’s slated to be home to a shuffleboard table.

Cooney says work on the project, which began about two months ago, hopefully will be finished by the end of summer. He says the game room is intended to be a universal space and uses could include business meetings, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and team-building events.

The space previously was rented out to one of the building’s former tenants prior to the pandemic. Cooney says that Jerry Dicker, who bought the Steam Plant building in May of 2021, came up with the idea for the game room when deciding what to do with the vacant space.

“He’s really good about getting feedback from people and different thoughts and doing his due diligence as far as what can work,” says Cooney.

Dicker is the owner of Spokane-based GVD Commercial Properties Inc. and president of Spokane-based GVD Hospitality Management Services Inc. Among other properties, he also owns Ruby River Hotel, Montvale Event Center, and The Bing Crosby Theater.

Cooney says that, between the Steam Plant and GVD Hospitality’s other event venues, there has been a need for more event spaces. While he says that the game room may be open to the public someday, it will be used only as a reservable event space for now.

“We have a pretty big event department that’s growing, and there’s a big need for it,” Cooney says.

The game room currently has a makeshift bar in it, though Cooney says the event department may consider creating a more permanent bar at some point. Food catering options are available through the restaurant’s kitchen.

Cooney says the GVD Hospitality event staff includes about a dozen employees.

“Our event business is continuing to grow, so as we continue to grow and business picks up, we will continue to add more people,” he says.

The Steam Plant has eight spaces that can be rented out for larger parties or events, Cooney says. The event hours vary from the restaurant hours, but he says there is more flexibility with events.

He says rental fees for the game room haven’t been set yet.

KellCraft Design & Supply Co., of Spokane, is handling design and construction services for the game room. KellCraft’s office is also located in the Steam Plant building.

The Steam Plant, originally called the Spokane Central Steam Plant, was built in 1907 to supply heat and power to the downtown area. It was shut down in 1986 and eventually was converted into the Steam Plant Square commercial complex. The building was renovated in 2017, but much of the industrial-style architecture and features remain.

He says he thinks the game room will be a valuable addition to the Steam Plant.

“People are already excited when they visit the space,” Cooney claims.



Dylan Harris
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Reporter Dylan Harris has worked at the Journal since 2021. Dylan, who was born and raised in Spokane, enjoys watching sports, cooking, and spending time with his family.

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