The Bennett Block was one of the first buildings in downtown Spokane, built in 1890. Now, a renovation is underway to preserve this buidling’s historic qualities while modernizing its amenities and it will be nominated to be listed on the Spokane Register of Historic Places.
The Bennett Block has been a hotel, theater and a brewery. With this new renovation, the owners hope it will once again become a destination for Spokane.
“Old history is always great,” construction superintendent Mike Frank said. “To bring some of that back and modernize it as you do it, is always good to have that old-town feature in something that’s new.”
Builders are using most of the original structure but updating where necessary. Nystrom + Olson’s lead architect on the project, Chris Olson, said downtown development is moving east.
“The other end of Main, there is a lot going on down there as well,” Olson said. “It’s just good to see, a lot of these older buildings are starting to be rehabbed and people are starting to occupy them again, which is nice.”
Rocky Rococco will get a new kitchen and a new patio. The Bennett Block’s storefronts will be reworked with new office space upstairs and room for a new restaurant next to Rocky Rococco. The owner said while there has been a lot of interest, no tenant has been secured.
Along the east side where Cyrus O’Leary’s used to be located, a new plaza and water feature are going in, leading pedestrians to Riverfront Park and a new, landscaped parking lot.
On that side of the lot, architects look forward to revealing a new side of the building that Olson said is “a dramatic departure from what you see in the area.” He hints the wall will feature something “modern and flashy.”
The exterior should be complete by mid-October with the interior work getting completed over the winter.