Housing Credit Helps Revitalize Historic Hotel and Downtown Spokane, Washington

Among the many virtues of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) is its flexibility in serving the specific local needs of urban, suburban and rural communities nationwide, financing both new construction and the rehabilitation of existing buildings.

A recently closed Housing Credit deal to renovate the historic Ridpath Hotel in downtown Spokane, Washington, will not only provide homes affordable to working families but help to strengthen the local economy.

According to Mark Richard, president of the Downtown Spokane Partnership, the renovation of the Ridpath will encourage others to invest in downtown, and it’s a boost to local residents, who grieved the boarded-up windows and the graffiti on the landmark hotel.

“I think the emotional impact on our community will be profound,” Richard said.

A portion of the 13-story historic former hotel tower and adjacent YWCA annex will become a 206-apartment complex including affordable and market-rate micro-studios, studios and one- and two-bedroom units.

When complete, the Ridpath Club Apartments will play an integral role in local revitalization by providing affordable rents to those earning 60% or less of area median income as well as 27 market-rate apartments with no income restrictions.

Located on Sprague Avenue, the apartments are a convenient conduit between Downtown Spokane and the developing University district, providing excellent access to employment opportunities, social activities and recreation, as well as minimizing the need for ownership of a car.

The property is unique in offering rare amenities for an affordable property, including a 110-year-old marble indoor swimming pool, a full-service public restaurant at street level, the Brasserie, a second-floor bakery/café onsite as well as a mezzanine level community lounge and 16-seat theater room for use by residents.

A variety of financing, including historic building tax credits and Housing Credits, went into developing the workforce housing for people earning less than $30,000 per year.

R4 Capital, a national affordable housing tax-credit syndicator, lender, and asset manager, and R4 Capital Funding, R4’s tax-exempt debt platform, arranged over $16 million in debt and equity financing for respected local developer Ron Wells to help redevelop the property. The city of Spokane also provided $1.75 million and the Washington State Housing Finance Commission contributed $2 million.

Working closely with Ronne Thielen, Executive Vice President of R4 Capital and Jim Spound, R4 Capital Funding President, Ron Wells wrote, “I’m feeling so fortunate, grateful, and relieved that they continue to hammer away at so many myriad details. Their advocacy is extremely comforting and very highly appreciated.”

“We are pleased to provide financing in downtown Spokane where there is a significant lack of affordable housing,” said long-time Housing Credit advocate Thielen. “We have taken this opportunity to be a part of the solution.”

Photo courtesy of Wells and Company.