McKinstry expanding office, adding jobs

Seattle firm McKinstry has said it will expand its Spokane office and expects to add more than 100 jobs while increasing its focus on green building projects for customers in Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

In a meeting planned Thursday, company CEO Dean Allen will showcase plans to convert the brick-walled former railroad shop east of downtown into its Spokane headquarters.

That two-story office, at 802 E. Spokane Falls Blvd., will be called the Great Northern Building. It sits behind the Habitat for Humanity store and directly south of Gonzaga University in the University District.

First incorporated in 1960, McKinstry provides a range of services around building, designing and managing offices and corporate premises.

Its current office in downtown Spokane has about 50 workers. A release issued by Washington Sen. Patty Murray said the expansion in Spokane is expected to generate “hundreds of jobs” through new construction and building retrofitting.

Murray and Spokane Mayor Mary Verner will join Allen at the event today.

In April McKinstry said it acquired technology from Liberty Lake tech firm Itron that will help integrate smart grid systems into buildings.

The firm’s website says McKinstry has more than 1,600 employees and had $400 million in sales during 2008.

The 1900s-era building McKinstry is converting was the shop and train yards of an early 20th century electric railroad running from Spokane to Coeur d’Alene.

That train system was first the Inland Empire Railroad Co., which failed in 1919. It reorganized as the Spokane and Inland Empire Railroad Co., then into the Spokane and Eastern, and then taken over in 1929 by the Great Northern.

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