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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Former Francis Ave. Fred Meyer to be converted into an RnR RV Superstore

The former Fred Meyer store at 525 E. Francis has been in the news a couple of times recently as the abandoned big box has attracted some less then desirable activity, putting a black eye of sorts on the neighborhood. But, the end is near as work is beginning now on the building to convert it back into an open building, but this time it won't be used as a retail store.

The building was recently acquired by RnR RV , who plans to relocate their RV dealership in Airway Heights up to this North Spokane site. RnR RV also owns a large RV dealership in Liberty Lake, is a locally owned and operated business, and one of our area's largest RV sellers. The Liberty Lake location will continue to open, just off of I-90, as will the 1950's style diner the dealership operates inside it's main building there.

This new RnR RV on E. Francis will be a full service RV superstore and could open as early as the end of this month. The new dealership will feature a 100,000 square foot indoor showroom, a parts and accessories store and a 15 bay service department.

No mention as of now about what will replace the current RnR RV location in Airway Heights after the move. Fred Meyer closed down this store when it's lease expired a couple of years ago, the store was the only non-updated Fred Meyer store in the Spokane area. There is a rumor however that Fred Meyer will open a new store not far away at the current N. Division Costco site , after Costco relocates to their new planned store which will soon be built on Newport Hwy in Mead.

For more information on RnR RV , visit their website at-

Thursday, April 28, 2016

1898 Public House opens inside the Kalispel Golf & Country Club

For the first time in over 100 years, the public is being welcomed to dine at the former Spokane Country Club on Waikiki Rd. in North Spokane. The formerly private golf & country club was forced into being sold last year following a discrimination lawsuit. It was acquired, also last year, by the Kalispel Tribe of Indians who has done some work to the property and today markets the club ( which is still partially private ) along side it's players club at their Northern Quest Resort & Casino.

The perhaps biggest change to the club ( other then the name change to Kalispel Golf & Country Club ) is the new restaurant that just opened this month in the clubhouse. The restaurant is named 1898 Public House , which is named for the year the country club was originally founded.

1898 Public House picks up on the Gastropub style of restaurant which has become quite popular throughout the country. The dining experience at 1898 Public House is described as " upscale " with a menu of many exciting dishes created by executive chef Tyler Schwenk.

The restaurant promises to use only the freshest ingredients with twists on some favorites. Among the menu items at 1898 Public House is hand pressed gourmet burgers, house-cured bacon , charcuterie and much more. This new restaurant also boast a full bar, and brunch service every weekend on Sat. & Sun. .

For more information on 1898 Public House, visit their website at-

Or stop in, in person at 2010 W. Waikiki Rd.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Thomas Hammer planning new location at Sprague & Thierman in Spokane Valley

The Spokane based Thomas Hammer Coffee chain / coffee roaster continues to grow. Only a few months after the company opened a new location in North Spokane / Mead on Hastings Rd. it's already moved onto building out what will soon be their 19th store, this time in Spokane Valley.

And, for many Valley residence the location will look familiar....

That's because this new Thomas Hammer is a local business replacement to the corporate java giant, Starbucks Coffee , who moved out of this small strip mall space. The location is only a few blocks east of the Fairgrounds at the corner of Sprague & Thierman ( 6630 E. Sprague Ave. ) .

Construction is underway as we speak to remodel the former Starbucks into a new Thomas Hammer location, serving their famous coffee's which have earned them multiple awards including the Inlander's Best of the Inland Northwest award for best coffee shop.

The new Valley Thomas Hammer will open for business sometime in May and will occupy about 1800 square feet of space with a good amount of indoor seating. Also the Starbucks was equipped with a drive through so we can only assume Thomas Hammer will continue to use this feature.

For more information on Thomas Hammer Coffee, visit their website at-

Friday, April 22, 2016

Some big business openings today

Today and this weekend is the perfect time to try out some new businesses as there are three new business openings today, and another just days away! We will have more on each as time allows but for now here's a quick reminder list-

Trader Joe's opened their second Spokane location this morning in North Spokane's Franklin Park Shopping Center ( 5500 blk of N. Division)

Post Falls Brewing Company opens at 2pm today for the first time. They are a highly anticipated microbrewery located on S. Spokane St just north of the Spokane River in Post Falls.

1898 Public House is the new open to the public Gastropub style restaurant inside the Kalispel Golf & Country Club on Waikiki Rd in North Spokane. Today is their first day, unsure of exact opening time

And, on Tuesday....

Natural Groceriers will open their store to the public with a 7:55am ribbon cutting. Their new store, the first in Spokane, is located on N. Division attached to Office Depot and nearby Northtown Mall.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Cafe Mac by Victor closes to allow owner to focus on other ventures

One of Spokane's " best kept secret " restaurants has always been the Café Mac by Victor. The restaurant was a fast casual style establishment and favorite of many. It also had the unique location of being on second floor of the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture (2136 W. 1st in Browne's Addition ), not exactly a common spot for top notch Mediterranean foods. And now sadly the business has moved on....

Café Mac by Victor was a locally owned and operated restaurant operated under a lease agreement with the museum. But the restaurant's owner, Victor Azar has been spread kind of thin in recent years with his other businesses and a new brand of Hummus , called Victor's that launched recently and is already sold in numerous local grocery stores. Because of this Mr. Azar has chosen to close the Café Mac and spend more time on the Victor Foods hummus division of his culinary empire.

The closure is effective immediately but the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture is already in the process of looking for a new food service operator for their building, bidding closed at the end of last week but as my writing this there has been no news on any successful bids and when they might open for business in the museum.

Victor Azar also will continue on with his catering business now known as VictorCaters , and we will likely begin to see Victor Foods Hummus products popping up at even more grocery stores all around the Northwest in the coming months.  Also, Victor Azar is listed as owning the Town Hall Café inside the Triumph Composite factory ( formerly Boeing ) in Airway Heights.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Pet Emergency Clinic's new home complete and open for business

Pet Emergency Clinic, Spokane's only emergency veterinary care center is now open in their new home, a larger, newer building located just feet away from their former dated clinic location. The business has been open in Spokane since the late 1970's and grown to the point of needing more space and more services.

The new Pet Emergency Clinic is at 21 E. Mission Ave. , on Mission in-between Division & Ruby. The business is truly a full service veterinary clinic, with 1800 square feet of space in a stand alone building. Their former clinic building, which is across the parking lot from their new one will be demolished to make way for additional parking. The new building was built by Baker Construction & Development of Spokane , and designed by Animal Arts of Boulder,Co. .

Pet Emergency Clinic offers exams at all hours, including nights & weekends and offers specialty services for animals like MRI , X-ray , ultrasound and cancer care. The new building will house upwards of 67 employees , some of which work for select specialty partners that will also provide services in the new building.

Pet Emergency Clinic is open Monday - Friday 4:30pm - 8:00 am and 24 hours a day on weekends and holidays.

For more information on the Pet Emergency Clinic, visit their website at-

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sushi Sakai planning new location in Spokane Valley

Not too long ago one of Spokane Valley's favorite sushi restaurants, Sushi Sakai packed up and moved to a new location in Spokane. When they moved they promised to bring their restaurant back to the Valley at some point in future and they have clearly kept their word.

Sushi Sakai announced last week that they plan to open a second location back in Spokane Valley, while keeping their main location open for business in the Clementine Square building at 829 E. Boone ( near Gonzaga ). Work has already begun on the new Valley location , which will be located in the same space as a short lived Marijuana themed sports bar called Marijane's at 11420 E. Sprague at the corner of Sprague & Bowdish.

The new Spokane Valley Sushi Sakai will have a full bar ( with plenty of Sake ) and is currently planned to open for business in time for Mothers Day this year.  The restaurant will remain the same with a good sized selection of handmade sushi rolls, appetizers and more items like Teryaki plates and some Yakisoba noodle bowls all made fresh.

For more information on Sushi Sakai, check their website at-

Or, find them on Facebook at-

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Spokane based show, Bungalow Reno to premiere Sun. on HGTV

A couple of local friends one of which owns the local business,The Design Shop, will be highlighted on a new HGTV show which will start Sunday. The show is called Bungalow Reno and follows local investors Carolina Johnson and Susannah Stoltz.

The premier episode will show them fixing up an abandoned bungalow Spokane's South Perry district. This episode will only be a pilot, although HGTV does have a website for the show at...

Bungalow Reno premiers at 12 noon on HGTV, watch for more on the show hopefully soon...

Thursday, April 14, 2016

New Fairfield Inn to be anchor of larger Coeurllaborate project in Coeur d' Alene

Recently on this site we shared that local businessman Ron Ayers has purposed building a new Fairfield Inn by Marriott hotel on the site that is today the Garden Motel ( 1800 block of Northwest Blvd. , near Riverstone ) . Plans are moving forward with that new hotel, but we're also now learning that the Fairfield Inn will in fact only be the start of a larger development planned for the site.

The land, which also houses a Lean Bean Coffee drive though will become a development currently named Coeurllaborate. The Hotel will be joined by a 16,000 square foot co-working facility, named CoeurWork and a 18,000 square foot business incubator space named Incoeurbator . Plans call for much of the construction to be done around the same time and have an opening date in 2017, although this is still pending as the development remains in the planning phase and the Garden Motel remains standing today.

A small section of the land will also be sold off as a pad site for likely either a restaurant or bank. Initial plans also had the Lean Bean staying as tenant on the parcel, but this remains to be seen as the site is not the largest.

The Fairfield Inn will likely be first part of the development to break ground. The planned hotel will be a four story hotel with 112 rooms and on site surface parking lot. It will help alleviate some of the need for hotel rooms during the summer months in the Coeur d' Alene area as many hotels run full throughout much of the summer. Here is a look at what the purposed Fairfield Inn would look like-

 Renderings of the other buildings planned for the site are not yet available. Also noteworthy is that the InCoeurbator business incubator portion of the development will also include a makerspace similar to that of Gizmo CDA in Midtown Coeur d' Alene.

We will keep watching for more updates as we expect some development on this project soon...

Long running, Ressa's Shoe Service moves ahead of building demolition

The blocks of Division north of Downtown are changing fast, new buildings are rising and new restaurants / business have opened in this portion of Spokane's University District. But unfortunately sometimes progress has a cost...

Ressa's Shoe Service, which has been on the same block since the 1930's , and in the same family since 1946 was recently informed they will have to move as their building and lot have been sold for the new Sweeto Burrito restaurant which is to open later this year. But, the good news is that while the long running locally owned & operated business will have to move, Ressa's Shoe Service is still in business!

In fact Ressa's Shoe Service has moved and is even still in the same neighborhood! Ressa's can now be found at 20 E. Indiana Ave.

Ressa's Shoe Service is a full service shoe repair business, that also can do repairs sporting equipment and even leather. They also sell some shoes, work boots and shoe accessories like insoles, laces and more.

For more information on Ressa's Shoe Service, visit them in person or on their website at-

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Medical Office Building to be re-built on Mayfair.

Just after the Fourth of July in 2013 a 3 alarm fire ripped through the Mayfair Professional Building at 5901 N. Mayfair in North Spokane ( ) . Several tenants we're forced out the building as it was ultimately demolished and sat as vacant lot for the last three years.

But now work is set to begin to build a new medical office building on the same site. The site is prime for such a development as it is directly across the street from Providence Holy Family Hospital and several other medical offices. 5901 N. Mayfair will be a two story structure with a more up to date look then the last one had. Here is a look at a rendering for this new building-

Construction work will be completed by McCloskey Construction, Inc. and one tenant is already signed on. That tenant will be Spokane Occupational & Hand Therapy who will take space on the new building's first floor. Second level office space is still available for lease NAI Black doing the leasing work.

The building will boast 11,000+ square feet of total space , free on site parking and as aforementioned, a prime location for most any kind of medical firm. For more information on the new office building, being built at 5901 N. Mayfair, check with NAI Black at-

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

North side Trader Joe's opening date announced!

Those anxiously awaiting the opening day of Spokane's second Trader Joe's location will want to mark there calendars. That's because the chain has officially announced the opening date, and it's coming up fast. The North Spokane Trader Joe's will open on Friday, April 22nd !   

The store is a 12,000 square foot space is located in the former Rite Aid space at Franklin Park Commons shopping center, 5520 N. Division . Rite Aid recently moved into a standalone store building on the north side of the shopping center's parking lot to accommodate the new Trader Joe's.
This will be Spokane's second Trader Joe's location as one opened in 2011 at 2975 E. 29th in the Lincoln Heights shopping center.  We'll likely have more on their grand opening after it happens, so keep watching this site....
And, for more information on Trader Joe's , visit their website at-

Sola Salon Studios coming to the Spokane

A new kind of " Salon studio " is coming to Spokane soon as a franchisee of the Sola Salon Studio chain has leased space for a new Sola location in the Manito Shopping Center at 802 E. 29th Ave. Sola will occupy a 6,700 square foot space there, with no set opening date as of yet.

Sola Salon Studios are a vary fast growing chain of businesses with a corporate office in Denver,Co. . Sola locations are unique compared to other salons as the chain rents out small studio type spaces to established professionals and those looking to enter the industry. Most locations offer several spaces to be rented.

Because of this different format of salon, many Sola locations offer more services then some other similar businesses. Hair styling , Massage, nail services and more can all be found at Sola Salon Studios. And, while this will be the first location for the chain in Spokane, it is not the first in the Inland Northwest. That's because Sola Salon Studios already has a location open in the middle of Coeur d' Alene's Village at Riverstone , that one will stay open along with the new Spokane location.

For more information on Sola Salon Studios, visit their website at-

Monday, April 11, 2016

1400 Tower, a new high rise condo building planned for west of Downtown Spokane

Although the property is a few blocks west of the main Downtown core, it looks like we'll be seeing another new residential option for those looking to live around Spokane's City Center. Local developer Mick McDowell is in the planning process for a new high rise called the 1400 Tower for it's location in the 1400 block of W. Riverside ( actual address would be 1404 W. Riverside ) .

The purposed building would be all condo's with some common areas for the future resident's use. It would be an official high rise building, with 14 story's and 50 different residences in the structure. It would also feature a view of the Spokane River as it is purposed for the north side of Riverside, built into the hillside. A three story, private parking garage is also envisioned for the development, at the bottom of the hill allowing tenants to enter the building from the top of the garage, as is visible from this project rendering-

Most of the condo's that will be available in the 1400 tower will be mid-sized with 800 up to 2,000 square feet. But the top floors will be occupied by two much larger penthouses, both available with 6,000 square feet.

The side of the tower facing Riverside will serve as the building's " front door " with a plaza and entry point. The roof , and the top half of the parking structure will be used as common areas, with the tower roof being a green space.

 Here is a look at the purposed renderings for the front side of the 1400 Tower-

Although plans are already moving forward for this project is has a long way to go as of today. An architect ( Nystrom + Olson Architecture )  and contractor ( Yost, Gallagher Construction, LLC ) are already lined up but likely won't see any actual construction at the 1400 Tower site until at least this Fall.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Former North Spokane Bruchi's location to be demolished for a new shopping plaza

Recently I was asked what was going on with the former Bruchi's cheesesteak restaurant location at 10406 N. Division, corner of N. Division & Hawthorne . After being asked, I was able to track down that something is in fact going on there, but the small building that's there now is not involved. Actually that structure is scheduled to be demolished and replaced with a multi tenant commercial shopping center.

The site, which is owned by a company called Polar Enterprises,LLC will be a new strip mall with 3 inline suites and designed local architect Uptic Studios . The end cap unit, which would be on the south side of the building is being shown as a Umpqua Bank branch with a single lane drive though, although this new branch has yet to officially be announced, so it is not a confirmed tenant of the building.

To the north of the end cap unit of the new building is two spaces, also without official tenant announcements. These will likely be a retail / restaurant type business or even a small bar, in all the new building will have 5200 square feet and estimated completion date of just sometime in 2017.

We will continue to watch for more news on this project and share it as we get it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Spokane International Airport, may start construction on new gas station / fast food building this Summer

Spokane International Airport has had several construction projects over the last few years from a new Parking Operations office building to taxiway / runway improvements and many more. Between the Airport's projects and the private businesses projects on the Airport's campus, it seems like there is always something happening at Spokane International Airport.

And, now planning is underway for a project to be constructed to the east of the terminal and parking, along Airport Drive , that will answer a need of many airport customers, a new gas station / travel plaza.

While, several services are available at or near the Airport, for whatever reason there are no gas stations close to the main airport. This has caused a problem, primarily for those with rental cars as the rental car companies request cars return with a certain amount of fuel. Also, many visiting the Airport need essentials after long days of travel, or maybe just gas to get back home.

The new gas station is only in the planning phase and likely no construction will happen for awhile. In fact, pre-application documents filed with the City of Spokane show an estimated construction start date of August. The gas station will be located on a new private driveway that will run from the inbound to outbound Airport Dr. lanes, putting the new facility in what is now a vacant area. Also, a new cell phone waiting parking lot would be adjacent to the new project with several more parking spaces then the current lot.

The address of the new gas station's site is currently listed as 2918 S. Flint Rd. and will cost approximately $2.1 million .

The plans as they stand now show four fuelling pump islands, underneath a canopy, no gas station branding is mentioned however as of yet. Also, the plans show a fast food restaurant and car wash included on the site, with the restaurant being located in the same building as the gas station's c-store and a drive though being added to the south side of the building. There also is no mention of what kind of fast food restaurant this might be.

We will continue to keep an eye on this project, as we expect some sort of announcements on this coming within the next few months.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Zona Blanca , Chef Chad White's new chviche spot coming to Downtown Spokane

Spokane's culinary scene continues to expand and evolve and one of the newest major player's in the Spokane culinary community is surely Chef Chad White. Chef White, a former contestant on Top Chef , relocated to Spokane ( his original hometown ) from San Diego a couple of months ago and already has two new restaurants already in the works for Spokane. One restaurant is Native Post & Provisions , which will feature local foods, but has yet to find a home and the other is the basis for this article.

His newest restaurant will be a small ceviche bar called Zona Blanca , designed to expand Spokane's ethnic food options and provide a new casual dining option to the cities core. Zona Blanca will actually join the same space as the new " brewery incubator " / Steel Barrel Tap Room at 154 S. Madison . The exact menu is of course still a work in progress, but will highlight dishes of the coastal regions of Mexico, some Mexican street food dishes may also be added to the Zona Blanca menu.

The new restaurant / bar as aforementioned is part of the new Steel Barrel Tap Room project, which after a couple of years of planning and a move is now within site of opening. Steel Barrel will be the bar and beer tasting space of a brewery incubator that will one day house upwards of five different microbreweries. So far two new microbreweries , Young Buck Brewing and Little Spokane Brewing, are already signed on and setting up shop at the S. Madison location. We'll have more on the opening of that project as we learn more and get closer to opening, we also assume Zona Blanca will open at the same, or close to the same time as the rest of project.

For more information on Zona Blanca, a website is up and being built at-

Or, find them on Facebook at-

STA Plaza remodel to start this month

Spokane Transit Authority's Downtown bus plaza hasn't always had the best public image. But a renovation that's been in the works for several years now, should finally start sometime this month, and will continue on for almost a year helping to change that image, and provide a better place for bus riders.

The renovations will upgrade the first floor and move the second floors offices / businesses onto the first floor to essentially close off the public common areas on the second floor. This will eliminate some of the un-necessary common areas and provide for a new area for retail / restaurants which will be easier for the public to access . The second floor of the building will be walled off after first floor upgrades are complete, services and business on the second floor will stay open during the construction phase. A decision on what to use the second floor is still pending.

Walker Construction will act as the contractor for the project which first came on the table 8 years ago. Customer service and new restroom facilities will move to space on the south side of the first floor, the customer service department will be combined with the security department in the new space. The escalator, which is a current focal point in the middle of the first floor, will be replaced by a new smaller escalator near the Sprague Ave. building entrance.

Excess spaces along the west side of the building, along with the rotunda and a space near the Sprague entry will be opened up for lease by retail shops, restaurants or coffee shops.  Pre-leasing of those new spaces is already underway by NAI Black. A total of five spaces will be included, however then space near the north ( Riverside ) entrance will remain open as a Subway, which is already open there. A C-Store and an Pizza Rita location are currently open on the second floor, but I'm told it will be up to NAI Black to do all leasing work, so it's unclear if those two businesses will move into new spaces on the first floor.

STA busses will continue to use the bus plaza as a hub for bus routes throughout all of the construction phase. And, after construction is complete, bus loading areas on both Sprague and Riverside will also remain in the same location as they are today.

A new website spefically for this project is coming soon, but for now, for more information on Spokane Transit Authority, visit their website at-

Friday, April 1, 2016

Sweeto Burrito planning new locations locally , adding delivery

Sweeto Burrito , a South Dakota based chain of fast casual burrito restaurants is planning big things for us in the Inland Northwest. First of all the chain is launching a delivery option from it's restaurants, which will likely start sometime in April. And, in addition to the new delivery service, Sweeto Burrito is also planning to expand their presence locally, with one new location already announced and another coming soon.

Sweeto Burrito first came to our area about the middle of last year, with one single location in a multi tenant building in Spokane Valley ( 15727 E.Broadway ) . And, now they have announced plans to build a second location, this time a stand alone building near Gonzaga University and not far north of Downtown.

The new Gonzaga area Sweeto Burrito location will rise on the northwest corner of N. Ruby & Nora, close by the White Elephant store. Currently a couple small single family homes are on that corner, and will likely need to be demolished for the new restaurant. Construction will start soon on this new Sweeto Burrito, which will also feature a drive though and delivery. No opening date has been set yet, but they expect to open sometime in September and will be hiring, but there is no word about how many new jobs this new restaurant could create.

Here is a look at the renderings for this new Sweeto Burrito location-

We also have early info that Sweeto Burrito is planning to open a third area location in Coeur d' Alene. The Coeur d' Alene Sweeto Burrito location has yet to be announced however, so we will re-post when we get the information on that location. There is also rumblings of future Sweeto Burrito's in other parts of Washington State, which adds up as the chain has been aggressively expanding in recent years.

Sweeto Burrito has a menu of more unique burritos made fresh in restaurant, many of the burritos are not exactly authentic Mexican burritos however with items like the Monster Cheeseburger burrito being included on the menu. Some other items are also included in their delicious offerings.

For more information on Sweeto Burrito, visit their website at-