SPOKANE, Wash. - The troubled Ridpath Hotel in downtown Spokane is coming under fire once again, as the city tells owners to clean up or be fined.
The Ridpath occupies much of the block at the corner of Sprague and Stevens and many believe its turning into a giant eyesore. Just three years ago this was a thriving street, but if you've driven by the hotel lately there are broken windows, graffiti and the building is completely empty.
Chicken-N-More owner Bob Hemphill remembers the time business on Sprague was thriving.
"We'd almost for sure get 20 or 30 people from the Ridpath in here everyday," Hemphill said.
Now many of Hemphill's professional neighbors across the street have left. The Ridpath Hotel closed in 2008 and was divided up into parcels and sold to six different owners.
The city says they aren't keeping the building up to code and now, instead of housing stars - Elvis Presley once stayed at the hotel - it's now housing transients.
Deputy Building Official Dan Skindzier says the owners of the Ridpath need to establish a fire suppression system, and secure the building.
"Without having proper fire suppression and security, someone could get in there and cause a problem, no one would know it before it's too late, and before you know it we have a major disaster in the heart of downtown Spokane," Skindizer said.
The city's hearing examiner upheld Skindzier's decision this week, and added each owner will be fined $1,500 a year for making the city constantly inspect the sub-standard property.
"I haven't seen a case where we've had one building divided up into multiple parcels and multiple ownerships. This is the first time, very unique," Skindizer said.
Bob Hemphill says the improvements would help the downtown economy; he suggested giving tax breaks to attract new tenants to the Ridpath to make money for the city and his business.
"Not only are they going to be making money off the rooms but they'll be making money off the other revenue people spend here in this town," he said.
Greg Jeffreys, who owns the top two floors of the Ridpath, said the city's fines are frustrating because he's trying to pour money into renovating his parcels.
He says other floors in the building have not been renovated or brought up to code like his property has.
Steve Antonietti talked back in May about his plan to bring back the luster to this building. On Tuesday he said those plans have been put on hold.
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