Spokane Journal of Business

Avista unit gobbles up downtown office space

Telecommunication service occupies space in Levy, 1889, U.S. Bank buildings

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To accommodate its rapid growth, Avista Communications, an affiliate of Spokane-based Avista Corp., has leased more than 16,000 square feet of additional office space in downtown Spokane since the first of the year.

Avista Communications, which was formed in the fall of 1998, initially was headquartered in the three-story, 7,500-square-foot Levy Building, at 118 N. Stevens, and employed about four people, says President and CEO Greg Green.

The telecommunications company now employs more than 120 people, 55 of whom are based in Spokane, Green says. It also currently is advertising to hire at least 10 employees here immediately. He predicts that by year-end, Avista Communications will have nearly 200 employees, 70 of whom would be based in Spokane.

Avista Communications current Spokane work force now occupies space in three downtown buildingsthe Levy Building, the 1889 Building, and, now, the U.S. Bank Building. So far this year, about $500,000 has been spent on tenant improvements at the multiple office spaces that Avista Communications has leased, he says.

Green says that the space Avista Communications recently has leased should accommodate its projected growth for at least the next 18 months.

Avista Communications, which currently offers local dial-tone and high-speed Internet services in six markets, expects to enter another 24 markets by the end of 2002, which would require even more additional hires, though how many is unclear, says Avista Communications spokeswoman Nancy Goodspeed.

Avista Communications outgrew the Levy Building about a year after it launched operations, and leased about 3,000 square feet of space on the second floor of the 1889 Building, next door at 120 N. Stevens, two months ago. The 1889 Building now houses Avista Communications network-operations center, which has networking and monitoring equipment; a lab where it tests equipment before it goes into the network; and employees who support that technology, Goodspeed says.

Before moving into that building, Avista Communications remodeled the second floor and connected that level to the second floor of the Levy Building, allowing workers to move between the two structures without going outside.

Early last month, Avista Communications began moving some workers into 5,400 square feet of space it had leased and recently renovated on the fourth floor of the nearby U.S. Bank Building, which is located at 422 W. Riverside, a block away from the Levy Building. Additionally, by the end of this month or early next month, other Avista Communications employees will move into about 4,800 square feet of space that Avista has leased and is remodeling on the eighth floor of that building.

At this point, Avista Communications expects to house its network operations staff on the second floor of the 1889 Building, its telecommunication-services carrier sales staff and its finance department on the fourth floor of the U.S. Bank Building, and its top executives and corporate sales and marketing employees on the eighth floor of the U.S. Bank Building.

Avista Communications also has leased another about 3,000 square feet of space on the third floor of the 1889 Building, but at this point hasnt begun remodeling that space and doesnt know what it will house there, Goodspeed says.

  • Lisa Harrell

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