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Historic Chancery Building faces demolition for new apartment complex

The building, which dates back to 1910, was vacated in 2019 due to safety and operational concerns.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Dating back to 1910, the Chancery Building is one of Spokane’s oldest and most historic landmarks. Designed by renowned architect Kirtland Cutter, the landmark sits on 1023 W. Riverside Ave. in downtown Spokane.

Now, after 111 years, the landmark is facing demolition for a new apartment complex.

According to a press release from Centennial Real Estate Investments, a new complex is necessary to help mitigate Spokane’s economic growth and sparse rental market.

“We agree with our partners and community leaders that housing must be a priority at this time, given Spokane’s unprecedented growth and limited rental market,” CREV Vice President Doug Yost said. “We see a pressing need for housing that’s accessible to our working professionals such as educators, military personnel, service professionals and others who work in downtown Spokane.”

According to the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, the Chancery was originally built as the Western Union Life Insurance Building. In 1924, the building underwent a major redesign and expansion by Gustav Pehrson, another famed architect.

A vast number of life insurance companies called the building home until 1966, when it was sold to Spokane’s Catholic Diocese. Forty years later, the Diocese sold the property, remaining as tenants in the building until 2020. The building was vacated in 2019 due to safety and operational concerns.

The new complex from Centennial is planned to include 40 to 50 2-bedroom and 1-bedroom units with modern amenities, a community courtyard and nods to the architectural details currently found within the Chancery.

The Washington Trust is planning to collaborate with Spokane Preservation Advocates and the building’s owners to work toward a “positive preservation outcome.”