SPOKANE, Wash. — Renovations to the historic McKinley School building in the Sprague Union District have been at a standstill for the last six years. But, we could finally see construction start this year.
Red tape and city code haven't made it easy for work on the McKinley School to begin. But now progress at the historic school building is in sight.
On Monday night, Spokane City Council is approving a 12-year multi-family housing property tax exemption for the property. It's a tool the city uses to attract developers to build more housing units in Spokane.
According to the city, the McKinley Apartments will include 22 units in four buildings. Under the 12-year tax exemption agreement, 20% of the units must be set aside for low and moderate-income tenants.
Spokane City Council member Michael Cathcart believes this project can help address the city's need for housing.
"I think this is a great addition to that neighborhood," Cathcart said. "It's going to be right there off of Sprague where there's lots of amenities and services, and hopefully, with more coming online."
Cathcart admits bureaucracy slowed progress on the McKinley school project. But, he wants this to change.
"Especially in the midst of a housing crisis, we should be working to expedite some of those things," Cathcart said. "We are trying to do that. We've had some staff shortages and some stuff like that. I really think that's got to be an emphasis because it shouldn't take as long as it has."
Meanwhile, building permits for the McKinley school indicate construction will begin as early as this fall.
Records show an estimated construction cost of $10-$25 million. The building will be five, four and three stories. The ground floor may include commercial use or retail spaces.
Cathcart said once construction starts, the project will be on track to completion in 2024.