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KHQ-TV to move downtown

October 27, 1998

Broadcaster will be at new site now occupied by MarketPlace

By Oliver Staley
and Kathy Mulady
The Spokesman-Review

KHQ-TV will move its broadcast facilities and its staff of more than 100 to a new building on the West First Avenue block now occupied by the Spokane MarketPlace.

Plans call for demolition next year of the existing building at 1202 W. First Ave., originally an auto dealership built in 1917. In its place would be a new, 45,000-square-foot building designed for high-definition digital television (HDTV).

A formal announcement is scheduled for today at the downtown site.

The impetus for the move is coming federal regulations that require digital broadcasts by 2002, said Lon Lee, president and general manager of KHQ-TV, which broadcasts as Q6.

“We are required by the telecommunications act to get off of channel six and begin broadcasting on digital,” said Lee. “Our current facility isn’t capable of that.”

KHQ-TV has been based on South Regal since it went on the air and in its current building, at 4202 S. Regal, since 1959. Plans call for the station’s existing building to be razed in 2001 and for the 40- acre property to be sold.

KHQ-TV and the block where the new station will be located are owned by Cowles Publishing, which also owns The Spokesman-Review.

The most recent First Street tenant, the Spokane MarketPlace, was asked to vacate the building when its lease expires in December. The MarketPlace has been in the building less than two years, after moving twice since 1994.

Most neighbors said Monday they hope the new building will be compatible with surrounding structures.

“I will assume the architect will work with the neighborhood and downtown planning people,” said Teresa Brum, city and county historic preservation officer.

The neighborhood has been surveyed as a possible historic district because of the many former auto dealerships and supporting businesses.

“It has historic significance as Spokane’s transportation district,” said Brum. “Losing one building in a district of that size won’t mean we can’t have a district. There might be enough buildings left. I’m hoping.”

Betsy Cowles, vice president of Cowles Publishing, said, “The company is highly sensitive to making that block pedestrian- friendly and fitting into the historic context of the neighborhood.”

“It’s also an opportunity to make a statement with something new that links that block to the greater downtown,” Cowles said.

Others view the move as a chance to bring more excitement to downtown Spokane.

“People are going to be shopping in the area, having lunch in the area, staying after work and doing things, so it’s exciting from that standpoint,” said Annie Matlow, marketing director for the Downtown Spokane Partnership.

“It’s a delicate neighborhood right now; this could be a key element in sending it in the right direction,” said Jim Kolva, a former city planning commissioner who is restoring a historic building in the area.

The building will occupy most of the block, including an existing parking lot. It will be designed by Rees and Associates, Oklahoma City architects who specialize in television stations.

“It’s still very early on in its design, but it’s not going to be blue aluminum,” said Lee, referring to KHQ’s current building. “It’s going to be very much in keeping with the neighborhood.”

KHQ employee parking will be under the new building.

Like many of Spokane’s television stations, KHQ started on Regal to be near its existing radio station. Relocation to downtown should give KHQ a tactical advantage for its news broadcasts.

“We think it will probably save us between 10 and 15 minutes on a breaking news story,” Lee said. “There’s not many breaking news stories on the South Hill.”

Tuesday, October 27, 1998

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From → KHQ

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