Spokane Journal of Business

BCRA Design expands services in Inland Northwest

Multidiscipline company sets up Spokane office

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Tacoma, Washington-based BCRA Inc., which does business as BCRA Design, is expanding its presence in the Inland Northwest, bringing with it the collective experiences of architects, interior designers, civil engineers, and landscape architects.

Founded in 1989 as an architectural company, BCRA leaders soon realized the benefits of an interdisciplinary alliance of construction industry professionals to provide clients with a holistic approach to their projects, says architect Douglas Oberst, managing principal of BCRA.

“Every client, designer, engineer, architect, and project manager has a voice in our projects,” Oberst says. “We know that principled collaboration is simply how the best, most inspired work gets done.”

Though BCRA has been involved with public and private ventures in Eastern Washington and North Idaho for several years, the region is ripe for growth, says interior designer Nicky Poole-Duris, a Spokane-based senior associate who is leading the company’s expansion effort.

“Spokane and the surrounding area have a lot of things we value as a company,” Poole-Duris says. “It is a relationship-orientated city, and that’s important. It’s not a city that’s built on quick deals. When (clients) see we’re invested in building things for the community that will support them and the surrounding area there is a personal connection.”

BCRA has five Spokane-based employees operating out of a 2,500-square-foot suite in the Washington Cracker Co. Building, at 304 W. Pacific, in downtown Spokane. However, Oberst is quick to point out that the local office has the full support of its 80-plus employees in Western Washington. The company opened a Seattle office about 15 years ago.

“Our Spokane office will grow as demand warrants, which we see happening,” says Oberst, who is based at the Tacoma headquarters. “Our entire team is behind our staff in Spokane. If we’re fortunate enough to land a large project there, our entire office will be behind the effort.”

BCRA’s current Spokane-area projects include design and architectural services for seven Indigo Urgent Care clinics in Spokane, Airway Heights, Spokane Valley, and Coeur d’Alene.

Oberst adds, “Spokane has become this awesome second hub, and as we expand, we’re excited to further serve those communities and connect personally with our clients.”

On May 15, a 4,300-square-foot Indigo clinic will open at 2836 N. Ramsey Road in northern Coeur d’Alene.

Other area BCRA projects include architectural and land-use services for the Airway Heights Walmart, at 1221 S. Hayford Road, and design of an environmental graphics center at the University of Washington Spokane Center-Spokane, at 850 E. Spokane Falls Blvd.

The company provided architectural services for We Play, a two-level, 5,500-square-foot playground at the Spokane Valley Mall, at 14700 E. Indiana.

BCRA also provided design services for seven shops for a Pacific Northwest-based coffee company, Poole-Duris says, although she declines to identify the client.

In the Spokane market, Oberst says BCRA’s range of services appeals to a broad spectrum of clients.

“With multiple disciplines under one roof, we offer expert service to find a unique place in the market,” he says. “It really works nicely, because we can meet and approach clients from any one of those design aspects.”

Aside from its work in Western Washington and the Spokane area, BCRA has also provided its services for projects in Central Washington, including Wenatchee and Yakima, and western Montana, Oberst says.

BCRA’s work is evenly divided between public and private projects, he says.

In the public arena, the company handles elementary and middle school educational facilities, higher education projects, and health care offices. Private projects are mostly specialty residential work, including renovation design, as well as quick-service restaurants.

“We do a lot of retail and food-service work,” Oberst says.

BCRA’s Spokane staff has the flexibility to work from the company’s downtown office or remotely—an opportunity that became more prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID changed everything,” Oberst says. “Now that those barriers are gone, we are still navigating the whole return-to-work thing. We do not make it mandatory for our Spokane people to be in the office.”

Whether in the office or online, BCRA’s business model is centered on relationship building.

“Our mission at the beginning of every project is simple: listen,” Oberst says. “From this foundation of shared vision comes enduring partnerships and powerful results.”

Poole-Duris says BCRA is committed to continued growth east of the Cascades.

“We want to make sure the community knows we’re here—we’re another partner at the table,” she says. “I continue to see that evolve. It’s our vision to be community partners in the Inland Northwest and build things that matter.”

Though based in Tacoma, Oberst has family in the Coeur d’Alene area and says he may someday make the move east.

“My goal is to get (the Spokane office) thriving so I can move back there myself,” he says.

  • Keith Erickson

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