Pin It

Be Gone 

A historic-building enthusiast votes to demolish a historic building.

click to enlarge Steve Salvatori was the crucial vote deciding the building\'s fate - CHRIS BOVEY ILLUSTRATION
  • Chris Bovey Illustration
  • Steve Salvatori was the crucial vote deciding the building\'s fate

After threatening to pull its housing project unless it got the Spokane City Council’s tacit support, a Texas-based company is now set to demolish the Jensen-Byrd building.

Ironically, the deciding vote came from Councilman Steve Salvatori, a historic-building enthusiast and the co-sponsor of a resolution seeking to find a way to save the 102-year-old warehouse from demolition.

That non-binding resolution failed in a 4-3 vote. The building, located on West Main Avenue in the University District, is owned by Campus Advantage, which plans to demolish it this spring or summer, and build housing for more than 400 students.

“It was a really hard vote for me,” says Salvatori, adding that testimony changed his vote in favor of Campus Advantage’s plan. “If anyone saw that [meeting], I was aging in dog years up there.”

Matt Cohen, president of Spokane Preservation Advocates, says he was surprised by Salvatori’s vote.

“We expected Steve Salvatori to vote for it, because he cosponsored it with Jon Snyder,” Cohen says.

But Salvatori says that Campus Advantage and Washington State University, which sold the property to the company, both decided the building wasn’t worth preserving.

“You can’t have preservation without a willing owner, and we did not having a willing owner,” Salvatori says.

Scott Duckett, executive vice president for Campus Advantage, says his company’s threat to withdraw from the approximately $25 million project was necessary to shield its investors from new attempts to scuttle the project.

“We didn’t want to get several million dollars into this deal to find out they’re not supportive,” Duckett says, referring to the city.

Duckett says that his company looked for ways to save the warehouse. Costs estimates for renovating it were too high, partly because three of its floors have low ceilings.

About 30 people spoke during the council’s public hearing regarding the Jensen-Byrd. Over two-thirds supported saving the warehouse.

Cohen, president of the preservation group, was among those who spoke to save the warehouse.

“It’s a false choice to say it’s either the historic building or student housing,” says Cohen. He adds there were other places that housing could have been built on the property.

The Jensen-Byrd matters, according to Cohen, because of its formal, classical detailing: its cornices, its arches with keystones over the windows.

“It represents this connection between city and university, and past and present, and values of durability and ... sustainability,” Cohen says.

  • Pin It

Speaking of...

Latest in News

  • Skunked
  • Skunked

    Why Spokane County Commissioners passed a temporary ban on new outdoor pot farms without telling anyone
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Prisoner Problems
  • Prisoner Problems

    Computer errors continue to plague state Department of Corrections; plus, Washington ranked first in pro-charter-school policies
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • In Defense of Refugees
  • In Defense of Refugees

    In the aftermath of the presidential election, local residents seek ways to love and support their refugee friends
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Gingerbread Build-Off

Gingerbread Build-Off @ Davenport Grand Hotel

Sun., Dec. 11, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Joe O'Sullivan

  • R.I.P. Spokane
  • R.I.P. Spokane

    Exploring the Spokane of South Dakota — left for dead long ago
    • Jun 11, 2013
  • Beating On
  • Beating On

    Ska and new wave legends the English Beat land in Spokane
    • Mar 26, 2013
  • Green Water
  • Green Water

    Will Congress say yes to more hydropower?
    • Feb 27, 2013
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Unfinished Business

    Isaiah Wall wants to get his life on track. But first, he's gotta buy drugs for the police
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment


green zone


trail mix


Readers also liked…

  • Behind Locked Doors
  • Behind Locked Doors

    A suicide inside Eastern State Hospital raises questions about care and transparency
    • Jul 28, 2016
  • Idaho's Oil Country
  • Idaho's Oil Country

    Idaho is poised to tap its fossil fuels; plus, Inslee signs pot reforms into law
    • Apr 29, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation