The McMenamin brothers, legendary brewpub operators who own Tacoma’s historic Elks building, said Wednesday that construction there could start as early as March of next year.
Brian McMenamin, company co-founder, said the opening of the renovated Anderson School in Bothell will be the springboard for seeking investors for Tacoma, and he expects that to go quickly.
“We’ll have something to show investors when this opens,” he said Wednesday during a hard-hat tour of the property that’s scheduled to open Oct. 15. If construction starts a few months after that, the Tacoma property could be open by spring 2017.
The Elks Temple might draw some of the same investors as the Bothell project, McMenamin said. The company has said 23 private investors raised $6.3 million for the $26 million renovation of Anderson School. It was the first time the company sought outside partners in its history.
“We have a great group of interested investors” for Tacoma, he said.
McMenamin and his brother, Mike, have been in business for three decades, building an entertainment empire of more than 50 properties across Washington and Oregon. The private company employs about 2,000 people and has annual revenues of more than $100 million.
In 2009, they brought the former Elks Temple, 565 Broadway, with plans to turn it into one of the company’s signature entertainment properties, with concert venues, game rooms and a hotel. Two years later, McMenamins bought the Anderson School property from the City of Bothell, which put performance deadlines on the company that the Tacoma deal, done on the private market, doesn’t have.
The opening deadlines, combined with the massive difficulty of financing after the recession, meant Bothell had to go first.
The McMenamins haven’t ignored the Elks, though. It keeps a close eye on the property, company officials said Wednesday, and last year did a bunch of work to keep the 100-year-old building sealed and dry.
The Anderson School, built in 1930 and 1931, is part of Bothell’s redevelopment plan. When the complex opens this fall, it will be a hotel with about 70 rooms, two first-run movie theaters, event space, and a renovated former municipal pool. McMenamins bought the property for less than its appraised value in exchange for providing public benefits. One of them is letting Bothell residents use the pool for free.
The project has employed about 80 construction workers and more than a dozen local artists who create the whimsical McMenamins look. The Anderson School will have 150 full- and part-time positions when it opens. If the October opening date holds, the construction work will have been done in just 11 months.
Brian McMenamin said Bothell has embraced the renovation of a historic part of their community, something Tacomans can relate to.
The school has “been here since the ’30s,” McMenamin said. “They want to keep it.”