East Sprague revitalization brings new businesses, investors

Friday, November 30, 2018

(As reported by KREM2)

SPOKANE, Wash. — Efforts to revitalize East Sprague Avenue has piqued the interest of business owners, developers and investors.

Dale Kleist is one of those business owners who was drawn to the area known as the Sprague Union District. Kleist, a longtime restaurateur in Spokane, just opened the Union Tavern located at 1914 E. Sprague. The building is more than a hundred years old. It used to be palmistry.


"We're kind of going for an old look but everything is new,” Kleist said.

Kleist updated the plumbing and electrical work and added to the historic building to make room for the kitchen and bathrooms. The old palmistry sign is still illuminated, but just inside the building. Kleist said he wanted to preserve some of the history of the building, while at the same time meeting the needs of customers today.

Kleist said he chose the location because it was affordable and there was potential for growth in the area.

"I would hope that in the near future we would see some more storefronts opening up and some of the ones that are here maybe cleaning them up and fixing them up,” Kleist said. "I think the city will grow into it and if we have enough to offer we will get more people down here.”

East Sprague was once known as a rundown, crime-ridden area, but there have been major efforts to turn that around by both local businesses and the city.

The city added lighting and landscaping and made it more inviting to people. Also, the University District Gateway Bridge nears completion. The pedestrian bridge will link the University District to East Sprague in an effort to attract more people and business to the area.

Jennifer Huston, a realtor with Keller Williams Realty, said she has seen a lot of interest in properties on East Sprague. She has heard from out-of-town chains and even smaller mom and pop businesses. Huston said the property is affordable and prices have not gone up yet.