AKA: AgAmerica Farm Credit Bank, Headquarters, Downtown, Spokane, WA; Wells Fargo Center, Office Building, Downtown, Spokane, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: ALSC Architects, PS (firm); WMFL Architects (firm); Walker Construction, Incorporated (firm); Walter W. Foltz (architect); Willis Martin Lyerla (structural engineer); John Witt McGough (architect); Bruce Morris Walker (architect)

Dates: constructed 1980-1982

17 stories, total floor area: 262,200 sq. ft.

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601 West 1st Street
Downtown, Spokane, WA 99201

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Building History

The celebrated Spokane architectural firm, WMFL, designed the Farm Credit Banks' 17-story headquarters; this firm, known prior to 1974 as "Walker, McGough, Foltz and Lyerla, Architects and Engineers," was also responsible for the same bank's earlier headquarters, located across the Street, completed in 1969.

Soon after completing this greatly enlarge headquarters in 1982, the Farm Credit Banks ran into financial difficulties. According to Grayden Jones, writing in the Spokane Spokesman-Review in 1996: "The bank’s downtown Spokane building, erected in the early 1980s by previous managers, became a monument to the bloated Farm Credit system. But plummeting land values and mismanagement threatened to ruin the bank, which federal regulators prepared to liquidate in 1989. As a last ditch effort, new managers were installed and a government-backed loan for $90 million was approved. The reorganization - coupled with a fortuitous drop in interest rates - saved the bank. In 1994, the Spokane Farm Credit Bank merged with the Omaha Farm Credit Bank to create AgAmerica." (See Grayden Jones, Spokane Spokesman-Review.com, "Agamerica To Leave Spokane After 73 Years, Farm Credit Bank Moves To Sacramento In March," published 12/07/1996, accessed 04/15/2019.) About two years after this merger, Agamerica sought to reduce its administrative and operating costs, and chose to relocate its headquarters to Sacramento, CA, closer to the bulk of its member organizations in CA, NV and AZ.

The Spokane-based financial entity, Metropolitan Mortgage and Securities Company, purchased the tower for approximately $11.7 million in 1997. It bought the building to consolidate its own operations that were spread out to six locations around Spokane. In 1998, five floors of the building stood vacant, but several large tenants included Washington State University at Spokane, Pegasus Gold Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). The long-term plan was for Metropolitan to occupy the whole tower. (See Chad Cain, Spokane Journal of Business.com, "Preparing a home for Met," published 01/15/1998, accessed 04/15/2019.)


In 1998, the new owner of the Farm Credit Banks Tower, Metropolitan Mortgage and Securities, commissioned Walker Construction, Incorporated, and ALSC Architects PS, of Spokane, to remodel about 90,000 square feet of the 262,000 square-foot building. (See Chad Cain, Spokane Journal of Business.com, "Preparing a home for Met," published 01/15/1998, accessed 04/15/2019.)

PCAD id: 22833