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Dec. 11, 2019

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Spokane City Council to consider land deal with Catholic Charities

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Published: December 2, 2019, 8:05pm

The first of two remaining hurdles to Catholic Charities’ latest housing project was to be decided Monday.

The Spokane City Council was scheduled to vote on a proposed purchase and sale agreement with Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington, which wants to buy five parcels of city-owned land in northeast Spokane and convert them into a 72-unit apartment complex for homeless families.

If it wins council approval of the purchase, Catholic Charities’ final remaining major challenge will be securing federal tax credits to fund the project.

The project, dubbed Gonzaga Family Haven because of its partnership with adjacent Gonzaga Prep and nearby Gonzaga University, is far from Catholic Charities’ first housing development.

The city council is set to vote Monday on a resolution that would declare the property as surplus and authorize the city to enter into the purchase and sale agreement with Gonzaga Family Haven, a company formed by Catholic Charities to tackle the project.

The agreement also would allow the buyer until June 20, 2020, to conduct a feasibility study on the property.

The cost is not specified in the agreement. Instead, the purchase price will be the average of two independent appraisals.

An estimate filed in briefing documents with the city council pegs the properties’ value between $850,000 and $1 million.

Catholic Charities has built or manages more than 1,300 units of housing in and around Spokane.

It envisions Gonzaga Family Haven as a landing zone for graduates of its Rising Strong program, which seeks to serve families at risk of being separated due to substance abuse or other issues.

Gonzaga Prep and Gonzaga University have committed student and staff services to the project and its future residents.

The land is owned by the city’s water department, which uses it for employee parking. One small structure on the property is used as an office for code enforcement employees.

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