Spokane Journal of Business

Worthy readies garage project

Developer says he hopes to complete seven-story structure by end of year

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Spokane developer Walt Worthy, who is rehabilitating the Davenport Hotel, says he hopes to begin erecting a seven-story parking garage just southeast of the downtown landmark in September and to complete it by the end of the year.

He says hed like to see the garage open by around Thanksgiving Day, but doesnt know whether that will be possible.

A building permit application for the project was being readied last week. The Spokane City Council a week earlier had removed an obstacle to the project, or at least some uncertainty surrounding its scope, when it approved an emergency ordinance exempting the planned garage from step back requirements for downtown parking facilities linked to historic structures. Without the exemption, Worthy had said he would limit the garage to a height of 40 feet and to 240 parking spaces.

It now is expected to have up to 60 parking spaces per floor, or a total of 420 spaces on the buildings seven above-ground floors, plus possibly another 60 spaces in a daylight-basement level that Worthy says he is trying to add to the project. Worthy had looked earlier at including some retail space or possibly upper-floor office space in the building, but now says that the structure will be devoted entirely to parking.

He declines to estimate the cost of the garage, but its clear from the proposed projects size that the cost would run into the millions of dollars. The garage is to be erectedlike an erector setlargely with buff-colored prestressed concrete components provided by Central Pre-Mix Prestress Co., of Spokane, which should allow the building to come together rapidly, he says. A conceptual elevation of the garage also shows a granite block-type base and long vertical windows extending down from arched roof caps to large suspended planters at each corner of the garage. Dave Lindquist, of Spokane, is the architect on the project.

The garage is to be erected on a 150-foot-by-120-foot bare lot at the southwest corner of First Avenue and Post Street, just north of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. downtown tracks. Worthy says the main entrance and exit to the garage will be on First Avenue.

Separately, Worthy says he expects to begin construction in August on an addition on the east side of the hotel, where the Pennington wing formerly stood. The two-story addition, which is expected to mimic closely the old Pennington wings Spanish Mission Revival architectural style, will include a first-floor drive-through entrance off Post Street, a large second-floor ballroom, and a 50-space valet parking area below ground.

The Hall of Doges banquet room, salvaged from the old Pennington wing before it was demolished earlier this year, will be reinserted into the second floor of the new addition, next to the ballroom. Worthy says its hard to predict when the addition might be completed, partly because the Hall of Doges reinstallation is expected to be time-consuming. He says, though, that he hopes to complete the addition in the first quarter of 2002.

Meanwhile, Worthy says hes pleased with the progress being made in the rehabilitation of the 14-story hotel. Interior demolition work is winding down, and restoration of the hotels three main public roomsthe Marie Antoinette, Isabella, and Elizabethanis mostly completed except for new carpeting and drapes that are to be added later after all the construction dust settles, he says. Also, much of the cleanup of the buildings exterior has been completed, and about one-third of the structures 1,100 windows have been replaced or reinstalled, he says.

As well, the construction of guest rooms is under way on floors three through 12, and drywall is being installed in three mockup rooms on the ninth floor, Worthy says. Those rooms will be carpeted and furnished completely as a way to pinpoint and correct any potential design and layout problems before the rest of the rooms are completed, he says.

Worthy and his wife, Karen, bought the hotel last year for $6.5 million. They expect to open some of the public rooms for special-event use later this year and to have guest rooms available by next spring.

Kim Crompton
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