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Local architect Cloninger, firm founder, dies at 66


Glen A. Cloninger, one of Spokane’s most active architects, died Sunday at the age of 66.

Family members said Cloninger died of complications following a minor medical procedure.

No date for a service has been announced.

Cloninger divided his energies between designing residences and retail buildings and investing in downtown landmarks.

The 1905 Holley-Mason Building, a six-floor landmark at 157 S. Howard St., was saved from the wrecking ball when Cloninger and several partners bought it at an auction in 1980.

He eventually bought out the partners and began converting it into retail and office space. Cloninger sold the building in 1992.

He also was the architect and developer of Grapetree Village, a retail-office complex along East 29th Avenue on Spokane’s South Hill.

That building and others demonstrated Cloninger’s fondness for brick masonry, said Spokane architect Gary Bernardo, a principal with Bernardo Wills Architects.

“I thought highly of his work and his ability to express playfulness through the use of brick. He was passionate about his work,” Bernardo said.

Cloninger also was known for his two-decade battle with city officials, who condemned one of his downtown properties across from the Spokane Convention Center.

Cloninger contended the city’s condemnation was illegal, while members of the Spokane Public Facilities District, which manages the convention center, said the property was needed for expansion. Cloninger said he planned to develop a multi-floor commercial project there combining retail, office space and parking.

The matter ended in 2008, when officials settled with Cloninger.

A native of Spokane, Cloninger graduated from Lewis and Clark High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree and then an architecture degree from Montana State University.

He moved back to Spokane to found his architecture firm, Glen A. Cloninger and Associates.

He and his wife, Pamela Cloninger, have three children: Brittney, Brooke and Blake Cloninger.