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November 18, 2015

McMenamins to start Tacoma Elks in 2016

  • The Portland company is seeking up to $10 million through an online offering to help pay for the project, which will cost more than $25 million.
    Journal Staff Reporter

    Courtesy McMenamins and Kathleen Nyberg [enlarge]
    Tacoma Elks Lodge was built in 1916 with Spanish Steps modeled after Rome’s Scalinata di Spagna.

    Courtesy McMenamins and Ankrom Moisan Architects [enlarge]
    A hotel, several bars and three restaurants will fill the renovated lodge.

    Fresh off the successful opening of Anderson School in Bothell, McMenamins is diving into its next local project: rehabbing the 99-year-old Tacoma Elks Lodge.

    McMenamins said it wants to start work next spring on the 1916 property at 565 Broadway. The company said in a press release that it has obtained permits for the renovation and is on track to open the lodge by summer 2017.

    Tacoma Elks Lodge will house a 46-room hotel; three restaurants; several small bars; a McMenamins brewery; gardens to supply the restaurants; and a ballroom for live music, events, weddings and meetings.

    The Spanish Steps on one side of the building were modeled after the Scalinata di Spagna in Rome, and will have an outdoor cafe and patio at the base.

    The lodge dates back to a time when fraternal organizations held a lot of sway in their communities and had enough funds to build their own headquarters. The Elks Lodge was designed by E. Frere Champney in what the press release calls a second Renaissance Revival style.

    Ankrom Moisan Architects designed the renovation, and Andersen Construction will be the general contractor.

    The building has been vacant for 40 years, but it hasn't been completely neglected. The Spanish Steps were rehabilitated as part of a 2011 grant from WSDOT and the Federal Highway Administration.

    The hilltop site gives the lodge great waterfront views, and the large ballroom is similar to one in another McMenamins property: the Crystal Ballroom in Portland.

    “Tacoma is full of historic buildings, and the ability to preserve one of them and turn it into something very special is very exciting,” said Chris Longinetti, chief financial officer at McMenamins.

    McMenamins said it is seeking $8 million to $10 million through an online investment offering to help pay for the more than $25 million project. McMenamins is looking for a minimum commitment of $150,000 from accredited investors — people with a net worth of more than $1 million or $200,000 in annual income. McMenamins also used crowdfunding to raise $6.3 million for Anderson School in Bothell.

    This kind of financing wasn't possible until recently. In 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission amended a rule that had forbidden companies from directly advertising to investors either online, in the news or through any other medium. With that change, McMenamins is free to use online crowdfunding to help pay for projects.

    McMenamins has 54 properties in Washington and Oregon, but the Elks Lodge will be its first in Tacoma. McMenamins had been looking at Tacoma for almost 20 years, said Brian McMenamin, co-founder of the company, and bought the Elks Lodge in 2009. He said the company tends to take a slow approach to projects, sometimes building in phases.

    But the positive reception to Anderson School has made them eager to move forward with the Tacoma project.

    “It gets us excited when we open a project and the place goes crazy,” McMenamin said. “You have to get pumped up about that.”

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