SPOKANE, Wash. - The Ridpath Hotel has stood tall in downtown Spokane since 1904. Its last guest checked out 10 years ago.
But in just a few weeks, the hotel will open its doors to offer affordable housing.
"It just needed to be saved, it needed to be restored, renovated, brought up to life," said Ron Wells, who bought the hotel with several other investors.
"There are more people who want to live here than we ever imagined, and we're pretty optimistic," said Wells.
Nearly $22 million has been spent on renovating the hotel and turning guest rooms into apartments. Construction might not have happened without the historic tax credit - which has been around for decades - giving developers financial incentive to restore buildings like the Ridpath, and the historic steam plant downtown.
But that tax credit would go away if Congress passes the House GOP tax plan. Fortunately for Spokane developers, it won't affect Ridpath, but it could dramatically impact similar projects going forward.
Since June, contractors have worked around the clock to give the worn out hotel a new purpose. Of the 206 units, 30 will be available for tenants by mid December. Architect Ron Wendle's design offers apartments ranging from small, to spacious. More than 80 percent will be rented out to people earning between $20,000-$29,000 per year. Apartments range from $495 to $1575 per month. Rent includes utilities, wifi, and air conditioning.
"We are mixing all lifestyles and people. It will be workforce housing," said architect Ron Wendle.
26 of the units have no income limit. They are more spacious with better views, and some have a history of their own. Legend has it that Elvis Presley stayed in the hotel's presidential suite two times.
"This project just had tremendous support from the mayor, the City Council, business leaders - it was very humbling to have so many people help get us to the finish line," said Wells.
A sprint to the finish after a marathon of renovation - and a welcome sight for those longing to bring the historic section of downtown back to life.
The Ridpath is still accepting housing applications. For more information, click here.
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