Otis Hotel renovation moves forward

After lying vacant for more than a decade following a botched condominium plan, the Otis Hotel is set to reopen…as a hotel. (PHOTO: Spokane Historic Preservation Office)

It’s hard to believe that the Otis Hotel has already been vacant for more than ten years. But indeed, the former SRO hotel (which also went variously by names like Willard, Atlantic, Milner, and Earle) closed its doors to more than 200 low-income residents on September 1, 2007. In the time since, the Great Recession scuttled condominium plans and a tangled ownership structure complicated multiple bids at renovation.

But now it looks like the most significant remodel of the building in its history is set to get underway. We knew that Portland developer Curtis Rystadt had planned to remodel the Otis into a boutique outpost of the Hotel Indigo chain after purchasing the building for $1.4 million in June 2017. Early interior demolition permits were issued in the fall.

Now, Rystadt has applied with the City for the renovation’s first major new construction permits, solidifying the project plans and confirming his investment. Both interior and exterior improvements are planned, including brick restoration, storefronts, new stairs, an elevator, first-floor restrooms, sidewalks, and guest rooms. Mr. Rystadt has referenced potential plans for an onsite brewpub, which would dovetail nicely with other nearby breweries and taphouses, contributing to the city’s burgeoning Taphouse District. According to the earlier-referenced Spokesman article, the total project cost is estimated at more than $6 million, and the first guests could arrive by the summer.

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SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: What do you think? Are you excited to see this part of downtown return to relative vibrancy? Can the area support multiple boutique hotels? Or would the building have been better off as apartments or condos? Share your thoughts on Facebook, on Twitter, in the comments below, or in person. We love to hear from you!