Ridpath renovation shifts into gear

SPOKANE, Wash. - Rundown and abandoned for years, the eyesore that became the Ridpath Hotel is finally getting some of its luster back, as construction is underway to renovate the downtown hotel and turn it into affordable downtown living space.

The Ridpath, closed since 2008, has dealt with squatters, vandals and disputes among multiple owners who claimed stake to different sections of the iconic hotel before developer Ron Wells bought the entire property.

"This area will be a coffee bistro wine bar," developer Ron Wells said during a tour of the hotel Thursday.

After years sitting empty, a long process of getting approval from all the right offices and unexpected water damage that halted construction, Wells said they're ready to build. They're starting with the penthouse condominiums on the top floors in what once was Ankeny's Restaurant, which will sport incredible views of downtown Spokane.

"There's not much left of the restaurant here," Wells explained. "Unfortunately, with as much demolished, there was no chance of putting it back."

Down below, on floors three through eleven, the hotel rooms will be turned into affordable downtown living. Many of the rooms are still intact, with all of the furniture from when the hotel closed in 2008, complete with coffee makers, hair dryers, even soap in the bathrooms. All of the furniture will be removed, and a small kitchenette will be added to create studio apartments.

Wells is waiting for final loans to be approved, and then work will kick into gear on the apartments, most likely by the end of the summer.

Ranging from $435 to $1,100 a month depending on the size and view, Wells said these apartments are a great option for young professionals who work downtown.

"The location is phenomenal," he said. "Right in the middle of everything."

Wells explained even with the setbacks and delays, the new Ridpath Hotel will be well worth the wait.

"A lot of people have waited a long time for this and we appreciate their patience," he said.

The penthouse condos have already been purchased, and there's a waiting list of more than 200 people for the apartments.