Our Approach to Historic Preservation

Historic buildings are tangible links with the past that give a community a sense of identity. They're beautiful and extraordinary. But it takes a devoted team — owner, architect and contractor — to preserve an old building and give it new life. This is one of the most challenging aspects of commercial construction … and one of the most satisfying. We're good at it. We have extensive experience in historic preservation and this allows us to help you realistically assess your project and then save as much of your historic structure as possible. We can stand behind our innovative solutions and our masterful craftsmanship.

EVALUATION

For this type of project you have to have the perfect combination of stark realism and bold imagination. Evaluating these old buildings is an art form unto itself. We can help you determine if your building is worth restoring and how best to go about it.

UNDERSTANDING

We'll support your tax credit compliance with advice about being "consistent with the historic character of the property." We also have a unique understanding of the construction methods of different eras and can advise you and your architect about how best to blend with current code.

CARE

We'll help you preserve the past … literally. During construction, we'll take extraordinary measures to protect the irreplaceable historic elements of your building and seamlessly integrate the aspects of the new construction.

SPOKANE PUBLIC RADIO

That's the inscription on an old plaque outside the former Fire Station #3 at the corner of Monroe and Sharp. This is more than the Spokane Public Radio station's new home. It is on the National Register of Historic Places … and a Spokane treasure. We enjoyed the challenges the project presented. We had to preserve the unique character of the building while at the same time creating a state of the art broadcast facility and an acoustically excellent performing arts venue.

This building has an especially compelling history. Firefighters who lived and worked in the building from the mid-1970s through '90s told SPR what life was like in the fire station. You can listen to their stories here.

Historic Preservation Projects

Martin Woldson Theater AT THE FOXSpokane, WA

Originally built as a 2,300 seat movie theater, the renovated Martin Woldson Theater at THE FOX seats approximately 1,600 and is the home of the Spokane Symphony. The historic renovation of this 1931 art deco movie theater into a modern concert hall was a thrilling undertaking for Walker Construction, and we are extremely proud of the results. The completed project won the following awards: Preservation Honor Award, 2010, National Trust for Historic Preservation; Project of the Year for 2007, ABC's 2008 Excellence in Construction Awards; 1st Place in Projects over 4 Million Dollars, ABC's 2008 Excellence in Construction Awards

 
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Patsy Clark MansionSpokane, WA

Walker Construction was commissioned to restore this beautiful mansion, designed by Kirkland Cutter, to its original glory and provide the necessary structural, electrical, mechanical and code requirements to allow the building to be utilized as a modern office for the new owners as a law firm. The results have been universally praised. This historic remodel was honored as a top renovation project in the state of Washington by Northwest Construction Magazine.

 
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Carnegie LibrarySpokane, WA

The historic renovation of the Carnegie Library Building into the new offices for Integrus Architecture was completed by Walker Construction in 1993. This grand building had sat vacant since the 1960’s. It had suffered from neglect and extensive fire and water damage to the plaster walls and wood floors. The mechanical and electrical systems were non-functional and inadequate. Pigeons and other varmints had caused extensive damage throughout. The challenge for Walker Construction was to restore the grandeur of this building, provide new mechanical and electrical systems, meet all Historical Preservation criteria, provide the highest level of finishes; and complete the entire project in 4-1/2 months. The results are spectacular. The building won numerous awards, was unveiled in a public open house attended by over 1,000 people, and was even made into a one-hour documentary by our local public television network. The project came in under budget and Integrus Architecture moved in on time.

 
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The Old Church RestorationPost Falls, ID

This old church is a combination of two churches built in the 1800's and located at other locations. In 1921 the two churches were literally drawn by horses to the current location and united to become the Community Presbyterian Church. After the church was abandoned and sat empty for several years, the Community Building Partners purchased the building and renamed the structure "The Old Church". Walker Construction was hired to renovate this historical landmark in two separate phases. Later renamed the Jacklin Arts and Cultural Center, the facility is a venue for artistic and cultural events, musical performances, weddings, and receptions. The "Old Church" was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

 
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The Pearl on AdamsSpokane, WA

This project is an historical preservation and renovation of the Helen Apartment Building in the downtown Spokane area. The apartment building accommodates 33 one bedroom units across four separate floors, with a total of 27,400 SF. Multifaceted financing included Historic Tax Credits and Federal HUD Funds. Documentation requirements included certified payrolls, apprenticeship participation and certification of “Built Green” credits.

 
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The Globe BuildingSpokane, WA

The owner of the Globe brought Walker Construction in early in the design process of this historic renovation to help with budgets, scheduling, value engineering, and the potential for historic tax credits. The project included structural upgrades to meet new seismic standards, a new storefront system for the main level, tenant improvements, and historic preservation of critical building elements. The final budget for this project relied on the owner receiving historic tax credits. To ensure these credits were received, a plan was put into place to assure the metal soffits, ornamental ceilings, existing windows, staircases, and interior finishes were all repaired correctly and were not damaged during the construction process.

 
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Spokane Public Radio FacilitySpokane, WA

Starting with the structure of the historic Spokane Fire Station No. 3, the new Spokane Public Radio facility is now a 21st Century treasured community asset. The complete renovation features new broadcast and production studios, audio/visual recording and editing bays, and administrative offices. The space houses an expanded news department, local productions, new digital resources and a performance/recording studio.

 
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The Holley Mason BuildingSpokane, WA

In August of 1999, Walker Construction completed The Holley Mason Building Revitalization project. This historic six-story warehouse, built in 1905 would provide a temporary home for Lewis & Clark High School. Despite the challenges of converting a turn-of-the-century warehouse into a modernized facility, we completed this project on time for 1,500 students and staff to move in for the start of the school year. Walker Construction was honored by Spokane School District #81 for our cooperation and quality of construction.

 
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Agnes Kehoe PlaceSpokane, WA

This stately historic preservation project provides 51 units of affordable, low-income housing for the formerly homeless, including 20 units for homeless and disabled veterans. Amenities include a community room, computer room, laundry facilities and a library. Located in the Hillyard district of Spokane, the Agnes Kehoe building originally served as the Hillyard School and was later converted to the Martindale Apartments. This project was designed to meet Washington Evergreen Development Standards.

 
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Cornerstone Courtyard ApartmentsSpokane, WA

In West Spokane’s Downtown District, this project was a remodel of an existing warehouse structure into 50 units of affordable workforce housing with provisions made to retain the historical building renovation standards. Construction materials and details included seismic reinforcement of footings, multiple shear walls, a combination of wood and steel stud framing, upgraded floor finishes and solid surface countertops. The warehouse style steel windows were upgraded with insulated glazing panes and the existing wood framed windows were replaced with maintenance friendly aluminum clad wood units. Energy efficient boilers and cooling systems, as well as “energy star” rated appliances were selected to help keep operating costs down for both owner and tenant. Amenities include an exercise room, reading room and limited off-street parking.

 
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“HONORING THE PAST”

A BUILDER'S PERSPECTIVE
ON HISTORIC PRESERVATION

It's hard to imagine anyone doing more historical preservation work in the region than us. I think if we had one area of exclusive expertise, this would be it.

Each old building has beauty and history and it is a delicate balance to respect and revive those while repurposing it into something functional and efficient for the next generation of occupants.

We have turned mansions into law offices, libraries into offices, warehouses into schools, schools into apartments, and movie houses into concert halls … pretty incredible transformations.

I am often proud to be able to disregard the easy answer of "tear it down," in order to use our expertise to salvage a building others had given up on. It's an honor and an obligation. You just need to look past the deteriorated elements and discover the promise.

~ Ed Walker
Vice President / Project Manager