Tacomas 1960s vintage Elks Lodge is now just a memory. It surrendered Tuesday to excavators and earthmovers to make room for a new Walmart store.
Before the lodge could be flattened, construction crews carefully removed asbestos and potentially hazardous materials.
The old lodge, built when the Tacoma fraternal organizations membership was the nations largest, contained a 1,000-seat auditorium, a pool, locker rooms, a bowling alley, a restaurant and bar and meeting rooms.
The lodge sold the property on Union Avenue near Allenmore Hospital to a developer who made a deal with the worlds largest retailer, Walmart, to build a 150,000-square-foot store on the site. The new store will be the first Walmart in Tacomas city limits.
On the east side of the property, Woodinvilles Sierra Construction Co. has already built a massive retaining wall where the lodges old outdoor running track was located.
Walmart spokeswoman Rachel Wall said construction will begin soon on the stores foundation, with walls scheduled for erection beginning in October. The store is sized between a traditional Walmart discount store and a Walmart supercenter. It will sell virtually all of the items, including food, stocked in the usually larger supercenter stores.
The stores grand opening is now tentatively set for the fall of next year.
About three months before that opening, the stores management will rent space nearby as a recruitment center for the estimated 300 workers needed to operate the store, Wall said. Notice of job openings will be posted at www.careers.walmart.com, said Wells. Interested persons should fill out online applications. Those deemed potentially qualified will be called in for further interviews.
The lodge, meanwhile, is building a replacement headquarters on the Allenmore Golf Course across South Cedar Street from the old lodge property. That new lodge will be roughly half the size of the demolished lodge.