City of Spokane: Claims of a homeless shelter in old South Hill Albertsons ‘100% inaccurate’

SPOKANE, Wash – Despite claims made in an email circulating in Spokane Tuesday, the City of Spokane said no one has formally submitted a proposal to turn the former Albertsons site at 37th and Grand into a homeless shelter.

Business leader Chud Wendle included the claims in a holiday email sent Tuesday, encouraging people to contact elected officials “requesting we have a town hall to discuss the Albertsons option while also requesting that we work together to redefine our community.”

“It has come to our attention that the vacant Albertsons on 37th and Grand has been submitted as a potential Homeless Shelter,” Wendle wrote. “Those of us that own properties, employ employees, run businesses, and/or live in the downtown core would appreciate services and shelters outside of the downtown core. I live on the south hill and have a sense of NIMBYism but for our whole community to rally behind addressing this health crisis I feel that we all need a taste of what we are experiencing downtown.”

The Albertsons site has been empty since the store closed in 2017.

City of Spokane spokesperson Brian Coddington said the claims that the site has been submitted are “100 percent inaccurate.” Coddington said the city was sent a copy of a real estate flyer listing the property, but that the city hasn’t asked for submissions or proposals.

The city is always looking for properties that would allow the city to expand resources outside of downtown, Coddington said. But, he said this Albertson’s site is not part of any of those plans.

Wendle declined our request for an on-camera interview, but in a conversation with 4 News Now, he said the message was a larger call to action for city leaders to come up with a permanent solution to the shelter issue.

He said he had heard the Albertsons location was one of several “submitted” to the city, but we passed onto him that there was no formal request for proposals or sites.

Wendle then pointed to the hundreds of people currently seeking shelter in the city’s warming shelter at the convention center. He said that center will be closing soon and the city needs to engage the community.

RELATED: ‘Answer to a prayer’: Warming center in downtown Spokane stays open through Jan. 9, city works to expand shelters

RELATED: ‘Vital part of saving lives’: Spokane warming center opens as temperatures drop