Troy Alstead isn’t sure where his go-to spot will be in his new entertainment complex when it opens in November.
It might be at the circular fireplace near the three-story high entrance.
“You’ll probably see me hanging here a lot,” he said during a recent hard hat tour of Ocean5 in Gig Harbor’s Olympic Towne Center.
Later on the tour he changed his mind.
“I think I lied to you earlier,” he said as he surveyed the framing of the facility’s restaurant, Table 47. “It might be here.”
He didn’t mention the worm farm in the basement.
Wherever Alstead, the former chief operating officer of Starbucks, ends up he’ll probably have company.
And that’s the way he wants it. He describes the 57,000-square-foot building as a gathering destination for social activities and dining.
“It’s unlike anything that exists in the South Sound and probably anywhere in Western Washington,” he said.
While other facilities in the area offer the things Alstead does — bowling, laser tag, food — they don’t take place in the kind of building he’s creating.
Ocean5 refers to the earth’s five oceans. The building isn’t just friendly to the environment, it’s practically hugging and kissing it.
Alstead has a deep respect for the environment, especially the oceans, and wanted his building to have as little impact as possible. That’s a tall order, given its size.
First, Alstead had 3.6 miles of geothermal wells drilled around the building site. They will use the earth’s energy to heat and cool the building year-round. No electricity will ever be needed, he said.
Like a heat pump uses air, geothermal uses heat and cold exchanges more than 200 feet below the earth’s surface.
“It has a return,” Alstead said of the investment. But, “It’s not a very quick payback.”
The system even heats outdoor patios using pipes embedded in the concrete flooring.
Natural and LED lighting will further reduce energy needs.
Recycled and reclaimed materials will clad and floor the steel-frame construction, including carpet tiles made from used fishing nets.
LASERS AND BOWLING BOWLS
It’s not all tree-hugging. There are fun and games, too.
A two-story laser challenge can fit 40 players. Alstead expects kids to flock to the space but they’re not the only ones who seem interested.
“It’s adult friends I have — 50-year-old adults — trying to pre-book this space,” he said as he stood in the darkened area.
Nearby, a bowling alley was under construction. Solar tubes, a kind of columnar skylight, bring natural light into the lanes.
Alstead is putting 16 lanes in the main room. Another four will be in a private, separate room.
About half will be the common 10-pin style and the other half will be duckpin.
Duckpin uses a smaller ball.
“It’s very fun, it’s very challenging,” Alstead said.
Upstairs will be offices and meeting spaces. One or more of the meeting rooms — depending on configuration — will have an outdoor terrace and a wraparound gas fireplace.
“The idea here,” he said, “is to be able to host everything from corporate groups that need great technology … to kids for birthday parties … to a wedding reception for 400 people.”
Table 47 will serve the entire building — from bowling alley to meeting rooms.
A three-story-high atrium forms the entry to the building and the entrance to Table 47.
The first things customers will see is a coffee cafe.
“A few of us, including myself, have a history with coffee, so, that was really important that we have fantastic coffee,” Alstead said.
It’s obvious the restaurant is important to Alstead, from what it looks like to the menu. But he stressed it’s not high-end dining.
“This whole space is a very casual, comfortable place,” he said. “It’s a place where a couple can enjoy themselves and groups can enjoy themselves and I can bring my little kids.”
Alstead and his team are still developing menus and he wouldn’t say much about the food, but a few hints were given.
“It’s going to be everything from some fantastic burgers and flat breads to amazing experiences around food,” he said.
Close to 20 kegged wines will be offered by the glass.
Sitting in the middle of the kitchen during the tour was a still-to-be-installed stone oven for those flat breads.
An oyster station will have many different kinds of seafood, said the restaurant’s executive chef, Ian Wingate.
Locally produced food will be a focus, he said.
He’s been touring farms all summer.
“We really want to showcase our farmers and agriculture in the area,” he said.
The dietary needs and desires of kids will be kept in mind.
“No GMOs (genetically modified organisms), no additives,” Wingate said. “It’s going to be familiar food that they know, but it’s going to be good for them.”
The earth-friendly ethos will carry forth in the restaurant as well, Wingate said. He’s focusing on food waste and landfill reduction.
The food waste will be sent to a special group of diners in the basement: earthworms. The compost they produce will be sent to farms.
“I’m hoping to have just one trash can and that’s all we’re allowed to fill up every day,” he said.