Dramatic remodel in the works for Bennett Block

Dramatic remodel in the works for Bennett Block

SPOKANE, Wash. -  More than 100 years old and the Bennett Block in downtown Spokane is still going strong. Come November, it should be good as new after months of revitalization efforts.

"These beams are the original," Dru Hieber said while pointing to the third floor construction work. "It's the original wood that was used to build this building in the 1890's."

Dru Hieber's grandfather, John G.F. Hieber Sr. purchased the building in 1924. Her father refurbished 40 years later and now, she said it's her turn before passing it on to her children.

"This third floor space, I'd really like to do some sort of funky business operator," Hieber said.

The third floor has been vacant for more than 80 years. It's the biggest portion in the revitalization project. The plan is to use it for office space. The second floor will have a mix of both offices and retailers, while the first floor would serve as restaurant row.

"It's unique," Hieber said. "It's a building with character. It's a landmark, I mean it's got some great potential."

Hieber said the revitalization costs a lot, but won't give an exact amount. All she said is it's worth the investment especially if it will stay in the family

"I want it to be something for my next generation that they can take over," said Lauren Howell, who is Hieber's 23-year-old daughter. "I just want it to stay in the family and keep going and prosper."

Howell has been working with her mom on the revitalization since she decided to go through with it in 2008.

"It means so much to my mom, my grandfather and my whole family," Howell said. "I'd really like to see it bring people together, the whole community of Spokane."

She adds Bennett Block has been a second home her entire life. So, what would she like to see of it?

"Well I love food," Howell said. "So some great restaurant that I could probably eat at everyday."

As far as prospective tenants go, Hieber said she has letters of intent from a few, but won't go further with details.