Masonic Center to undergo major makeover

Masonic Center to undergo major makeover

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Masonic Center, a piece of Spokane history which was sold last fall, is now about to undergo a massive makeover.

Since the early 1900's the Masonic Center has been a Spokane landmark.

"I thought the building was a spectacular building, very grand, historic building," owners Greg and Luisita Francis Newell said.

The center now has a new name – Riverside Place – as well as new owners and now its getting a 21st Century makeover. The building is filled with intricate detail found on all six floors, like the grand staircase and a parlor named after President Teddy Roosevelt, who attended the building's groundbreaking. There is character in every corner that the Newells don't want to take away.

"It's about re-purposing the building, not tearing it down or changing the uniqueness of it," the Newells said.

While they don't know when the renovations will be done, they do know what they want this place to look like. A space not just for special events, but also have two bars, two restaurants, two lounges and a cafe all under one roof.

"You go to a lot of cities and you see very grand buildings, maybe they are government buildings, but they are basically something you drive by or walk by, and say 'Oh wow there are some big columns there' but in this case, we actually want to have it as a building people walk right in, have a drink, have a cup of coffee and appreciate the architecture in here," they said.

The Newells hope the outside will include a rooftop bar overlooking the Spokane River and a balcony for people to use.

"I think having those other opportunities for having the community to be able to enjoy this building and I also think his area is one of the prettiest areas in Spokane," the couple said.

The project is expected to be built out in several phases with the creation of the bars and restaurants happening first.