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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Historic downtown Spokane building set for demolition, but adjacent historic structure will be rehabilitated

UPDATED: Wed., Aug. 16, 2017

A 110-year-old building in downtown Spokane will be demolished for a surface parking lot.

The building, 119 S. Stevens St., was constructed in 1907 and housed an early grocery wholesale distributor, the McClintock-Trunkey Co.

Cody Coombs, who owns the building, plans to renovate an adjoining historic building into office space, according to documents filed with the city. The two-story, 17,000-square-foot grocery building, which has been used as a parking garage for almost seven decades, will be torn down and replaced with a 57-stall parking lot. The remaining five-story building, which abuts the BNSF Railway viaduct, is 6,000 square feet.

Coombs did not return calls seeking comment.

The razing of the historic structure is allowed under city law, said Megan Duvall, the city’s historic preservation officer. Though the building is in the city’s East Downtown Historic District, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, the Spokane Municipal Code permits the demolition since the parking lot will serve the adjacent historic structure.

“It is an old building and it is part of the East Downtown Historic District,” Duvall said. “We can’t deny demolition because it’s a service parking lot for the building. An adjacent rehabilitation of a historic building allows for the demolition of an eligible or historic building for parking. That’s where my signoff came from.”

Coombs is part of a father-son developer team that has been active in Spokane’s neighborhood centers. In 2016, they took down a house just off South Perry with plans to build and lease a parking lot to the city of Spokane for an estimated $55,000 a year, with the city in turn raising revenue from the pay-to-park lot. The lot was planned to have 46 parking spaces, with Avista installing two electric vehicle charging stations there. The house is gone, but the lot remains vacant and undeveloped.

In 2013, the Coombs constructed the building occupied by Perry Street Brewing. They also renovated the East Sprague Avenue building where Bennidito’s Pizza opened a second location in 2014. Dave Coombs, Cody’s father, owned the downtown Honda and Toyota dealerships before selling them in 2009 to focus on real estate.

According to county parcel data, the Stevens property was purchased in July 2015 for $1.2 million by Evergreen Parking & Warehouse LLC, which Coombs owns.

Garco Construction has been hired to provide contracting and architectural work for the project.

McClintock-Trunkey Co., a pioneer wholesale grocery in the Spokane area, was founded in 1897 under the name of Booth-McClintock. When the company moved to the Stevens location in the early 20th century, it changed its name to McClintock-Trunkey Co. and employed 65 people. In October 1934, the company became affiliated with Red and White Stores, a national group of independently owned and operated stores.

When the company built a new warehouse just north of East Sprague’s Sperry Flour Mill in 1951, it vacated the Stevens location. It reportedly took eight days and 120 railroad cars to move the 6.5 million pounds of food to the new warehouse, which currently houses Johnstone Supply, a heating and ventilation equipment supply chain.

McClintock-Trunkey was sold to Roundup Grocery in 1953, which in turn was purchased by the Fred Meyer Co. in 1964, signaling the Portland grocery giant’s entrance to the Inland Northwest.

McClintock-Trunkey’s abandoned space on Stevens was renovated in 1951, the same year the grocer moved out. The four buildings on the block were remade into indoor parking for 300 vehicles.

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