Idea #20: Underground Tours

The basement of the Hutton Building on downtown Spokane's East End features an old trunk company's signage and creepy-looking hallways. (PHOTO: Spokane Teachers' Credit Union)
The basement of the Hutton Building on downtown Spokane’s East End features an old trunk company’s signage and creepy-looking hallways. (PHOTO: Spokane Teachers’ Credit Union)

As with many cities, Downtown Spokane has a rich, colorful history. From the Great Spokane Fire to West Trent, from speakeasies to single-room occupancy hotels (SRO hotels). It’s a storied past, and one that comes with a lot of baggage. For the longest time, that baggage simply went unnoticed, and passageways and basements were lost and forgotten.

But with the recent building remodels which have been going on downtown, these places have in some cases been rediscovered. STCU, for example, recently posted photos of the basement of the Hutton Building, where it has been completing a major renovation.

And indeed, it does make us wonder: does Spokane have enough history in the basement tunnels and passageways and hallways to create a tour? Seattle’s Underground Tour is wildly popular, and to be clear, our city doesn’t have the same amount of interesting sites, but it would be an interesting pitch. What if Spokane had an underground tour?

Any basements that you would particularly like to see? Any secret tunnels or passageways? Would you go on the tour? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter. We love to hear from you!

Downtown’s Germond Building gains mid-range to upscale apartments

Downtown’s Germond Building is undergoing a major renovation designed by local favorite Ron Wells. (PHOTO: Jesse Tinsley/Spokesman-Review)

Is the housing market in downtown Spokane starting to thaw out? On Tuesday the Spokesman-Review reported that the Germond Building in downtown Spokane is undergoing a major remodel with upscale apartments being designed and constructed by local developer Ron Wells on the upper floors. Notably, this historic building housed many of the city’s government offices for while a new City Hall was being constructed in the aftermath of the Great Spokane Fire in the 1890s.

Now, the four-story building will play host to eighteen new upscale apartment units on the upper three floors. Ironically, the building is owned by Diamond Parking, which we kinda-sorta railed against on Monday. Wells says that the “Diamonds have become passionate believers in restoring older buildings,” per the Spokesman (of course, tell that to the Rookery Block.) The units will range from 600-1,400 square feet and run from just over $1,000 to $2,400 monthly. The requisite granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, of course, apply. Oh, and retail will remain on the first floor, including two new tenants set to move in later this year. New residents move will be able to move in by November.