Third Avenue McDonald’s set for renovation

April 13, 2019

The McDonald’s on Third Avenue in downtown Spokane is planning a major renovation, according to permits issued by the city.

The fast-food restaurant will remodel its parking lot, build a new exterior facade, renovate its dining area, add new drive-thru menu boards and upgrade its restrooms. The work is estimated at $350,000.

The 39-year-old building is 3,700 square feet in size and, along with the half-acre property it sits on at Third and Howard Street, is assessed at $935,000, according to county property information.

The Third Avenue location was the third McDonald’s in Spokane and the 17th in Washington state. The original building was constructed in 1970 for $105,000 and replaced with the current structure in 1980.

The first McDonald’s in Spokane opened in October 1963 at 6320 N. Monroe St., and a McDonald’s stands there today. The original framework for the 1963 hamburger stand wasn’t torn down until a 2017 remodel.

The area’s second location, at 10615 E. Sprague Ave., is now the Three Sisters Vietnamese restaurant.

All three of these McDonald’s were built and owned by franchisee Peter Clausen.

A native of Denmark, Clausen said he chose to move to Spokane in 1950 when he visited the city as an agricultural exchange student on an 18-month tour of the country. During that trip, he met a woman from Illinois named Rita, they were later married and they settled in her home state, where they started a family. More than a decade later, hearing that Spokane was available for a McDonald’s franchise, Clausen needed “little persuasion,” he said in a 1964 article in the Spokane Daily Chronicle, and moved with his wife and three children.

When Clausen opened the first McDonald’s on Monroe, the chain had 522 stores in 42 states and was known as home to the 15-cent hamburger and limited 10-item menu. Seven years later, when Clausen opened the Third Avenue location, there were 1,700 stores and Clausen said he expected to serve 50,000 hamburgers a month there.

Clausen sold his businesses in 1980 to brothers Mark, Cory and Rock Ray. The family of Mark Ray, who started at the original Spokane location in 1964 as a “shakeman” while attending Gonzaga University, is still in the McDonald’s business with 28 local restaurants.