Catholic Charities Purchases Former Convent in Spokane
The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, U.S.-Ontario Province announced today that Catholic Charities purchased the Convent buildings and a portion of its 65 acre Spokane Campus on Fort George Wright Drive in Spokane, Washington. Catholic Charities plans to adaptively re-use the main Convent building for a new innovative social services program called “Rising Strong” in a unique collaboration with Empire Health Foundation. Empire Health Foundation provided $1.6 million to Catholic Charities to go toward the purchase as a program related investment in this exciting project that will aim to reduce the number of children being removed from their homes by Child Protective Services.
In addition, Catholic Charities, in partnership Spokane-based Inland Group, will use a portion of the property to develop affordable housing for both seniors and families, with great care taken to preserve the spiritual and ecological characteristics of the property. Catholic Charities also plans to retain the Chapel for prayer and occasional Mass and other Convent facilities, in support of Catholic Charities and the Diocese of Spokane’s mission to reveal God’s love to the poor and vulnerable. The Sisters selected Catholic Charities in early 2016 after a two year property evaluation and a selection process that concluded at the end of 2015. The art studio and some of the Sisters’ Administrative Offices, including the Development Office, which focuses on fundraising and donor relations, will remain at the property under a rent-free lease with Catholic Charities.
The Sisters also propose to permanently protect and conserve nearly fifty percent of the property, including the entire Spokane River frontage and remaining 31 acres of land surrounded by the River, in collaboration with The Spokane County Conservation Futures Program and other public agencies. The Sisters’ property has been selected by The Conservation Futures Program as the highest priority property for purchase by the program and currently is being evaluated for acquisition by the agency.
“We selected Catholic Charities because their service to Spokane residents and their commitment to stewardship of the property are consistent with our history and mission in this community and our values and goals for the future of the property,” said Sister Kathleen Hilton, who is leading the property transition. “We have served Spokane for more than a century and we appreciate the community’s support of our efforts as we transition the property. Proceeds from the sale will help fund long term housing and care for our aging sisters and also enable us to continue our ministry of education, and providing social services, and financial assistance to organizations who serve the poor, especially marginalized women and children.”
"We're very thankful to Empire Health Foundation for enabling us to purchase the Sisters’ property." said Rob McCann, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Spokane. "In our opinion, this property is indeed a sacred space and we take very seriously our obligation to care for it and use it in a way that continues the incredible history of the Sisters reaching out to those in need. We look forward to our continued partnership and service to the fragile and the poor in Spokane as we move forward with our plans for social services and senior and family housing on this great site.”
The Sisters’ Spokane Campus, located at 2911 W Fort George Wright Dr., includes approximately 65 acres, two buildings totaling 77,000 square feet of space with residential living units, administrative offices, a chapel, common dining and recreation areas, an art studio, gathering spaces and retreat facilities. Although the Sisters have used the property for housing and care of Sisters since 1967, the entire property has long been zoned and planned for high density housing by the City of Spokane. Preliminary approvals for development of the property were recently granted by the City of Spokane.
The sale price and terms were not disclosed. Craig Soehren and Mike Livingston, Kiemle & Hagood Company, are serving as the exclusive listing broker for the Sisters of the Holy Names for the property sale.
About the Sisters of the Holy Names Spokane Campus Long Range Planning Process: Given the age and configuration of the buildings, the demographic profile of the Sisters, and the many changes and advancements in health and eldercare delivery in society, the Sisters initiated a long range planning process for the property more than two years ago. Because the Sisters’ expertise and experience has been focused on their mission of education, the Sisters have looked to others with the needed professional expertise to manage the increasing long term housing and health care needs of its members. The Province transitioned Sisters from the Convent to Brookdale at South Regal (formerly Harbor Crest) and nearby apartments during 2013-14 for housing and a residence to meet the care needs of individual Sisters.
In the photo: Washington Sisters at a Jubilee celebration in the Spokane Convent of the Holy Names.