Neighbors concerned by changes to Browne's Addition

SPOKANE, Wash. - The face of one of Spokane's oldest neighborhoods is changing.

Browne's Addition was Spokane's first prestigious address, notable for its old mansions, once home to the city's elite.

But, in the past few years, historic homes have come down to make room for apartment complexes.

Residents are now hoping to preserve its charm."

"Kind of seems inevitable...you have to make way for progress," said business owner Eric Crow.

It's projects like this one at 3rd and Coeur d'Alene Street that are concerning Browne's Addition residents.

"In the last 15 years, it's undergone a pretty good makeover," said Alan Eschenbacher, pastor at All Saints Lutheran Church

Developer Asher Ernst tore down this home, built in 1897, to make room for two townhomes and 13 apartments

"It seemed like it went down really fast," Eschenbacher said.

Eric Crow owns Pacific Avenue Pizza and Cannon Coffee and Cone. He says development is good for business, but he sees the need to preserve his neighborhood's history.

"It's hard to make everybody happy, but we do want to keep the appeal of this neighborhood and we need to talk together on what it's going to take to do that.," Crow said.

The Spokane City-County Historic Preservation Office has a plan to make Browne's Addition a *local* historic district.

"Right now, Browne's Addition is a national registered historic district, but that doesn't really offer any protections in terms of design review and it also doesn't offer incentives for developers to keep these historic homes," said Megan Duvall.

Duvall is an officer with the Historic Preservation Office for Spokane and Spokane County.

The change would require developers to submit their designs and offer a property tax break for ten years for the costs of restoration. It's something that's going to take time.

"Right now, we're really just in the very beginnings of looking at is this something the neighborhood even wants," Duvall said. 

"I love Browne's Addition," Crow said. "I love being a part of it and I want to see good things happen here," he said.