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'Sherman Tower' going up

by BILL BULEY
Hagadone News Network | April 2, 2024 1:00 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — A 15-story hotel proposed in downtown Coeur d’Alene received unanimous approval from the city’s Design Review Commission on Thursday.

The Hagadone Corporation’s “Sherman Tower” on First Street and Sherman Avenue will feature 139 rooms, a 6,000-square-foot restaurant with a seasonal rooftop bar and nearly 4,000 square feet of retail and office space. It will also have a detached three-level parking structure, one level underground, at First and Lakeside Avenue.

Construction could begin early next year with a goal to open in the spring of 2027.

The project received strong support from letter writers and those who spoke at the calm public hearing that lasted about 90 minutes in the Coeur d’Alene Public Library Community Room.

“The level of care and stewardship of the Hagadone Corporation is well established,” said DRC Commissioner Jon Ingalls.

Adam Graves, president of the Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association’s board, said the development will provide a “huge financial boost” for the downtown area with more visitors staying and spending.

“That’s a big thing for us,” Graves said.

Sherman Tower will be a tiered structure that stands 190-feet tall, which includes an architectural feature that extends 22 feet.

The main entrance will be at Second and Sherman. A secondary entrance will be on the alley side of the building.

A total of 109 parking spaces are proposed for the project. The Downtown Core Design code requires 90 spaces for the combined uses of the hotel, office/retail and restaurant. 

Project consultant John Barlow said the company purchased the property on the north side of Sherman Avenue decades ago with long-term plans to develop it with an addition to The Coeur d'Alene Resort that sits a stone's throw away on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene. 

As with The Resort, red geraniums will be a trademark of Sherman Tower and street trees will be planted.

“Our inspiration is The Coeur d’Alene Resort,” said Architect Cory Trapp, with LTA Architects.

“While the hotel will have its own identity, it will have a common use of materials and elements so it will still be part of The Coeur d’Alene Resort family of properties,” according to a letter to the city from LTA Architects.

The time is right, Barlow said.

“This facility being on its own allows us to build without interrupting the hotel operations,” Barlow said.

He said when they designed the hotel they took into account “the views and vistas of our neighbors to the north” and to give it more visual appeal than one large tower. The hotel tower steps at the second, sixth and 10th floors.

“That’s part of why we felt good about it,” he said.

The new restaurant will go where the vacant Bonzai Bistro restaurant now stands, and the Johnston building will be removed to make way for the hotel.

The restaurant is expected to attract guests from throughout the region. It will have an elevated dining floor about 6 feet above Sherman Avenue to enhance lake views.

Barlow said they could have gone higher and wider with the restaurant.

“It just didn’t fit with what we wanted to do," he said.

The suggested site coincides with the original location of the Desert Hotel, constructed in 1905. The hotel served as the social hub of Coeur d’Alene for more than six decades. 

“We are thrilled and privileged to restore this block to its former status, echoing its significance in the community for numerous years,” the company said in a previous press release.

Unlike the Marriott hotel proposed for Sixth and Sherman that drew strong criticism and opposition before it was approved by the DRC in January, Sherman Tower received primarily support. Of nearly 40 letters, nearly all supported it. 

“This project will be taking a piece of property that is the entry to our downtown and dramatically improving the first impression,” wrote Kenneth Belisle, president of Landmark Restaurants. 

“As someone who has witnessed the growth and evolution of Coeur d’Alene over the years, I believe that the Sherman Towers will be a game-changer for our economy,” wrote Mallon Malee, a Coeur d’Alene resident.

Not everyone liked the project.

Jill McElroy, who lives at Coeur d’Alene North, said they already lost views when One Lakeside was constructed, and will lose even more with Sherman Tower.

“We’re not going to see Tubbs Hill anymore. We’re going to see the back of this building,” she said during Thursday's public hearing.

Commission Chair Tom Messina addressed the loss of views.

“Unfortunately, that’s what progress is sometimes,” he said.

Messina said the design minimized obstructions,  complements The Resort and is overall a great project.

“I do commend you on it,” he said.