Challenges force owners to sell empty Third and Division lot

Challenges force owners to sell empty Third and Division lot

Challenges force owners to sell empty Third and Division lot

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by SHAWN CHITNIS & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on May 5, 2014 at 6:09 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--A hotel was once supposed to go up on Third and Division in Downtown Spokane at a lot with a big hole in the ground. KREM 2 On Your Side looked into if the hotel would ever be built.

The owners of a chain of hotels in the Spokane area said they had several setbacks after trying to get a hotel there for years.  They said they were looking to sell the spot to someone else who could make good use of the lot.

Saint John’s Lutheran Church stood on the lot for more than 100 years. The church was sold in 2007 and then was taken down.

"I wanted a hotel there, I wish we could've been able to build a hotel there. It would have been a nice addition to Spokane,” said property owner Rita Santillanes.

Santillanes owns four Best Westerns in Washington State. She said a historical society looked into whether or not the site of the old church should be preserved. She said she resolved that issue but then had another setback.

"We lost our loan and we had to stop building again,” said Santillanes.

The project’s loan was with the Bank of Whitman. Regulators shut it down.

"We tried to get financing from other sources but at that time banks were not lending to hotels,” said Santillanes.

The owners said they looked into starting up the project again as the economy began to improve. They once again faced a challenge.

Developer Walt Worthy announced plans to build a new Downtown Spokane hotel with more than 700 units.

"We decided there were just too many hotel rooms,” said Santillanes.

Santillanes said from 2011 to 2014 she had paid on average $20,000 to $21,000 in property taxes each year. She said someone needs to make use of the prime real estate in Downtown Spokane but said it would not be her.

"We're quite aware that it’s an eye sore, we don't want it to be, it's the best location in town,” said Santillanes.

The owners of the site said they lowered the price of the property.  They said there was some interest in it but could not say who and where they were in the process.
 

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