Chair, Ron LaBar 509 344-1065 or email
Latest News on the Jensen-Byrd Building
Wondering what's going on with the Jensen-Byrd Building?
As many of you know, the City of Spokane has issued WSU a demolition permit for the historic Jensen-Byrd Building so that the Texas-based company Campus Advantage can replace it with new student housing.SPAhas appealed this permit and other City decisions because we think the building should be renovated, not demolished. Thanks in large part to SPA’s efforts, on Monday, August 6th, Campus Advantage pulled out ofthe deal, citing “the opposition” to the project. We are not celebrating yet,however.
WSU’s demolition permit is still active, and so is our appeal. OnFriday, August 10th, the Spokesman-Review reported that WSU officialswill wait a year or more to decide what to do next. The Jensen-Byrd Building is still threatened with demolition. The SPA Board has retained the services of noted land use attorney David A. Bricklin, of Bricklin & Newman, LLP from Seattle, and has authorized up to $9,000 for his fees. We have already spent a good part of that amount filing and preparing for our appeals. To pay for it, the SPA Board has shelved our $10,000 Heritage Grant Program forthis year.
Please help us save the Historic Jensen-Byrd Building!
1. Write a Letter to the Editor of the Spokesman-Review, and also send it to Washington State University calling for the renovation of theJensen‐Byrd Building, to return it to service as a productive part of our downtown economy. See talking points and addresses below.
2. Support our fight with a donation.Help us go the distance!Mail a check to SPA, PO Box 785, Spokane, WA 99210, or donate online at our website at:http://www.spokanepreservation.org/donate.asp.
3. Attend the hearing for both appeals on October 17, 2012, 9:00am, UNLESS the City revokes the demolition permit before then. We will keepyou informed. The hearing is currently scheduled for: City Council Chambers, LowerLevel of City Hall, 808 W Spokane Falls Blvd. The public may not speak, but your attendance is important to show support.
Potential talking points:
-- Historic preservation is an economic driver in Spokane. Therenovation of historic buildings creates a unique sense of place thatattracts new residents, businesses, and tourists (imagine Spokanewithout the Davenport, the Fox, or its many historic neighborhoods).Historic rehabilitations contribute millions of dollars each year tothe regional economy, creating jobs and stimulating new businessactivity and development. The Jensen-Byrd Building is one of thelargest and most visible historic buildings in downtown Spokane and itsre-use would create jobs and stimulate additional projects in the area.
-- The Jensen-Byrd Building represents the period of Spokane’s greatesthistoric growth as the cultural, economic and transportation hub in the Inland Northwest region. Unlike the Davenport and the Fox, the Jensen-Byrd Building tells the story of the hard-working, blue collarcitizens of our area. Our historic architecture represents the broad spectrum of our collective history. The preservation of history andheritage is a critical component to community revitalization!
-- The Jensen-Byrd has been determined eligible for the Local & National Registers of Historic Places. Federal Rehabilitation TaxCredits, the Spokane County Special Valuation and Community DevelopmentBlock Grants could be available for qualified rehabilitation projects.Using these credits would help the rehabilitation of the Jensen-ByrdBuilding “pencil out.”
-- Have you or a family member worked in the Jensen-Byrd Building or another of Spokane’s wonderful historic buildings?Share your personal stories and memories – these stories make the history come alive.
-- SPA is pro-development. SPA favors WSU’s plans for expansion of the Spokane campus and for new housing in the University District.Demolition of the Jensen-Byrd Building is not necessary for theseplans, and indeed could be renovated to support them.
-- Historic Preservation is a sustainable, “green” building practice because it reuses high-quality materials and the “embodied energy” thatwent into the original construction. Demolition wastes these resources,and new construction only uses more.
-- The University of Washington has renovated numerous historic buildings on its Tacoma campus.The first phase of construction, along with the master plan for campus construction, earned nationwide recognition for architectural excellence and historic preservation. The project included renovating six historic warehouses with 133,000 squarefeet of space. WSU can do the same in Spokane with the Jensen-Byrd Building.
-- Claims that the Jensen-Byrd Building’s column grid is too narrow and ceilings are too low to make renovation feasible are false. Thesecharacteristics are opportunities for interesting development.
-- The Strategic Master Plan of Spokane’s University District, aplanning initiative that Washington State University is both a financial partner and board member, highlights historic preservation asa “Core Planning Principle.” The plan notes that preservation projects “have been catalysts for additional public and private investments,creating a vibrant environment that is making news regionally andnationally.” The Jensen-Byrd Building is the most significant historic building in the University District.
-- The Spokane Downtown Plan (a portion of the Comprehensive Plan) repeatedly highlights Spokane’s historic buildings as among Downtown’skey “assets to leverage,” and specifically notes that “the need anddesire for added density must be balanced with the historic characterand livability Spokane residents value so much” (Downtown Plan,“Executive Summary,” p. ix).
-- In October, Spokane will host the annual conference of the NationalTrust for Historic Preservation in acknowledgement of Spokane’scommitment to historic preservation as an integral part of economic revitalization; the aforementioned one‐week event will bring an estimated 2,000 leading preservation professionals to Spokane(source: National Trust for Historic Preservation), inject about $5.5million into the local economy (source: Spokane Convention and Visitors Bureau), and focus national attention on historic preservation issuesin Spokane. Let’s give the nation some good news to talk about!
Letters to the Editor Policy -The S-R welcomes letters of up to 200 words ontopics of general interest.All letters are subject to editing. Please includeyour full name (first name, middle initial, last name) and mailing address(with city, state and zip), and include a daytime phone number where you can bereachedfor verification.
Thank you so much for supporting SPA's efforts to save the Jensen-Byrd from demolition!
The Jensen-Byrd Building (For the "Spokane Matters" List, scroll down)
The Jensen-Byrd Building is slated for demolition. Scroll down for UPDATES.
Click this link to view SPA's from the Sunday, January 15, 2012, Spokesman-Review. Print, sign, and mail us the letter in the lower left corner. We will submit them to the Spokane City Council and WSU as a show of local support.
Please write to WSU officials and ask them to develop a plan to renovate the Jensen-Byrd Building:
Second, we need your help: Please write a brief letter or email commenting on the SEPA application by Campus Advantage to demolish the Jensen-Byrd Building. This application is one of the last steps of public review before a demolition permit is issued. You will find all the information and simple instructions you need here:
We are saddened by last night's City Council vote, but encouraged by the terrific turnout. In all, 35 people testified about the non-binding resolution to encourage WSU and Campus Advantage to explore ways to save the historic Jensen-Byrd Building. Speakers were 2:1 in favor. Every private citizen who testified spoke in favor for a wonderful variety of reasons, from economic to personal. Those opposed were Campus Advantage, WSU, Greater Spokane Inc., and University District reps, who saw Jensen-Byrd as an impediment to a new campus housing project. We continue to believe we can have both. After Campus Advantage indicated that they would pull out of the project if the symbolic resolution passed, resolution co-sponsor Steve Salvatori decided to vote against. Also opposed were Nancy McLaughlin, Mike Fagan and Mike Allen. Voting and speaking passionately in favor were co-sponsor Jon Snyder, Amber Waldref and Ben Stuckart. This issue is not over. Please continue to write letters to WSU administrators, as indicated above, with cc to us; and please write to us at email@example.com and tell us what you think. You can also most your thoughts on our FaceBook page. Thank you all for your continuing support of our historic heritage!
UPDATE, February 1, 2012:
Please attend and testifying at the City Council hearing on Monday, February 6 at 6:00pm in the City Council Chambers, Spokane City Hall. The Spokane City Council will consider a non-binding resolution to encourage WSU and Campus Advantage (the approved purchaser, see "Summary of the Problem," below) to explore ways to renovate, rather than demolish the Jensen-Byrd Building. Read it here: http://www.spokanepreservation.org/admin/PDFs/Jensen-Byrd%20Non-Binding%20Resolution%20rev%202Feb12.pdfPLEASE ATTEND AND TESTIFY! Here are some possible talking points:
-- Historic preservation is an economic driver in Spokane. It creates jobs and a unique sense of place that attracts new residents businesses, and tourists. Historic renovations contribute millions of dollars each year to the regional economy, creating jobs and stimulating new business activity and development
-- We are pro-development, and in favor of new housing inthe University District. We think housing could go inside the Jensen-ByrdBuilding and additions, or on undeveloped land.
-- Historic Preservation helps to defineSpokane's identity.
-- Your personal stories about historicbuildings in Spokane and specifically the Jensen-Byrd Building.
-- Renovation of Jensen-Byrd is surely possible, but will require creativity. The University of Washington has renovated numerous historic buildings in Tacoma.In Spokane, most of our greatest preservation successes, such as the Davenport Hotel, the FoxTheater, the Steam Plant, were all slated for demolition once, and the experts doubted that renovation would be possible. Claims that the Jensen-Byrd Buildings column grid is too narrow, and ceilings are too low, are exaggerated. These characteristics are opportunities for interesting development. Extensive preservation tax credits are available
-- Historic Preservation is asustainable, “green” building practice. Demolitionsends high-quality materials to the dump and wastes the embedded energy of theoriginal construction.
--The Strategic Master Plan of Spokane’s University District highlights historic preservation as a “Core Planning Principle.” The plan notes that preservation projects “have been catalysts foradditional public and private investments, creating a vibrant environment that is making news regionally and nationally.” The Jensen-Byrd building is the most significant historic building in the district. WSU is a financial partner and board member of the district
UPDATE, January 18, 2012: The Spokane City County Historic Landmarks Commission determined on January 18, 2012 that the Jensen-Byrd Building is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. About 20 members of the public testified in support of preservation of the building (and we think the snow storm discouraged many more from attending). Read about it here: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2012/jan/19/jensen-byrd-eligible-for-historic-preservation/ Unfortunately, this determination does not protect the building from demolition. WE STILL NEED SUPPORTER OF PRESERVATION TO WRITE LETTERS TO THE DECISION MAKERS ABOVE.
SUMMARY OF THE PROBLEM:The Jensen-Byrd Building is a six-story brick warehouse designed by Albert Held and built in 1909 for the Marshall-Wells Hardware Co. of Duluth, Minnesota. Currently owned by Washington State University, it stands on Main Avenue, at the nexus of the Downtown Business District, the WSU Riverpoint Campus, and the University District. On December 13, 2011, WSU approved sale of the building to Austin, Texas-based Campus Advantage for the purpose of demolishing it and building new housing on the site. Read the initial story here:
SPA supports the construction of new housing downtown, especially near the WSU Riverpoint campus, but believes it could be accommodated in a renovated Jensen-Byrd Building, combined with new construction. The Jensen-Byrd Building, if renovated and returned to service, could contribute substantially to Spokane's economic viability.
Renovation would also represent a sustainable, "green" building practice. What a waste it would be to send all those high-quality materials to the dump, only to bring in new materials for a new building, burning fossils fuels the whole way, and losing all the "embedded energy" of the original construction. SPA will continue to encourage WSU and Campus Advantage to develop renovation options, taking advantage of substantial historic preservation tax credit opportunities.
In 2012 SPA's Advocacy Committee has released our first annual Spokane Matters List highlighting historical buildings, structures, sites, or objects that members of our community think play important roles in the heritage of Spokane and Spokane County. Through this initiative we aim to share the stories of historic places that matter to those in our community, motivate community members to think and talk about the places that matter, and share stories of our area’s heritage and preservation efforts.
To download a .pdf version of the 2012 Spokane Matters List, click here.
In no particular order, the 2012 Spokane Matters List is as follows:
Members of the Advocacy Committee have established SPA’s Facebook page, to help our members stay up to date on our news and activities, and other preservation related links and stories! Keep checking back for updates!
SPA’s Advocacy Committee has recently worked with Spencer Howard of Artifacts Consulting in Tacoma to utilize exciting new predictive mapping technologies to help identify pockets within pre-defined neighborhoods likely to possess high levels of material and historical integrity, in order to utilize a student intern to help conduct a survey of mid-century modern residences on Spokane’s north side. The survey and student work will result in a final document that we will be able to share with the Spokane City/County Historic Preservation Office (HPO), and with members of the community through the HPO website.
Bishop White Seminary (Huetter House)
If you get a chance, drive down East Sharp and take a look at the Huetter House as it looks after having been moved in 2008. SPA worked diligently with representatives of Bishop White, Gonzaga and others to arrive at this extraordinary solution to saving this important Spokane landmark. SPA placed an ad in the Inlander to thank Gonzaga for all their work in getting the house moved and renovated. See the link below for a copy of the ad.
The Advocacy Committee encourages everyone to get involved in their neighborhoods and neighborhood councils. If you know of a preservation issue you would like the committee to become involved in, please contact us.