Update 11/2/17 – Douglass, the owner of Self Storage of Spokane, has received construction permits to begin developing the storage project tapped for the former Mann Center site in the Hillyard neighborhood of Spokane. The $4 million project is now expected to include 12 single-story buildings comprising 88,000 square feet, according to the source.
Though several neighborhood and business leaders are unhappy with the project, they acknowledge the property had become a blight to the community. “It was an eyesore, but from our point of view it’s going to be just as much of an eyesore as a storage place,” Richard Burris, president of the Greater Hillyard Business Association, told the source. “It would’ve been nice if it were a retail center or something more attractive, but he’s the property owner and he can do what he wants.”
“That property had such potential,” said Luke Tolley, who represents the Hillyard neighborhood on the city’s community assembly. “There was a ton of opportunity to make that a community asset. Instead it went this other direction. Presumably, what it will become will at least be presentable. It sat and rotted so long.”
Douglass and his wife, Maxine, acquired the property at auction in 2015 for $1.6 million.
Self Storage of Spokane has another facility in Spokane and one in Spokane Valley, Wash. Douglass’ son, Lancze, owns at least seven Secure-It Self Storage facilities in the region, the source reported.
3/31/17 – Real estate developer Harlan Douglass has purchased the former Joe E. Mann Army Reserve Center in Hillyard, Wash., for $1.6 million with the intent to build a self-storage facility in its place. The existing building at 4415 N. Market has been demolished to make way for Market Street Storage, a $2 million complex, according to Steve Krum, project manager for Douglass Properties, which will build the site.
Designed by Stephen Bourne, an architect with Seattle-based Site + Plan + Mix LLC, the facility will comprise 60,000 to 70,000 square feet of storage space. Construction could begin later this year, Krum said. “We’re still dealing with the city on right-of-way and things of that nature,” he added. “We’re hoping for construction in late 2017, but it could be a 2018 project.”
Douglass originally proposed a $4 million, 11-building complex comprising 130,000 square feet of storage space. “We had planned to build out the whole site and scaled back significantly,” said Krum, adding the site could be expanded in the future.
Douglas is seeking to reroute public water mains and reduce public utilities easements on the property. It’s also proposing access to the facility via Market Street, with an exit-only gate on Haven Place, according to the source.
The city attempted to repurpose the landmark building since it closed in 2010, when the operation was moved to the new Armed Forces Reserve Center at Fairchild Air Force Base. Several public entities, including Spokane Public Schools and the Spokane Tribe of Indians, offered proposals for the center, which was built in 1958. The school district backed away from the site after it was vandalized in 2013.
The Army rejected several more proposals, and then claimed it would consider transferring the property to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. The transaction never materialized and the property was auctioned in 2015. At the time, it had an assessed value of $2.8 million, the source reported.
The property was named for World War II Army Pfc. Joe E. Mann, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for destroying an enemy artillery position after suffering wounds during a battle in the Netherlands in 1944, the source reported. He was killed during an enemy attack the next day after he threw his body on a grenade to protect his fellow soldiers.
Douglass Properties owns several apartment communities in Spokane.
- Spokane Journal: Plans for Mann Center End in Heap
- The Spokesman-Review: Hopes of Welcoming Gateway to Hillyard at Old Army Center Evaporate with Mini-Storage Units