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Restoration now the focus for McMenamins Tacoma Elks project

Extra millions needed to renovate old Elks, McMenamins say

Mike and Brian McMenamin talk about the extra millions that will go into the heavily damaged old Elks Temple that they're redeveloping into a restaurant, hotel, brewery and performance space.
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Mike and Brian McMenamin talk about the extra millions that will go into the heavily damaged old Elks Temple that they're redeveloping into a restaurant, hotel, brewery and performance space.

Now that contractors have scoured the century-old Elks Lodge in what Mike McMenamin called “an environmental search and seizure,” the owners are almost ready for the next phase.

The McMenamins hotel and brew pub chain co-founder said contractors spent the last several months removing asbestos, tons of garbage and lead paint from the 100-year-old Tacoma Elks Temple.

The historic building’s revival could begin in earnest this August, and possibly open by fall 2017. That’s a few months later than the company thought they could open. McMenamin said that during the cleanup, contractors discovered water damage was more extensive than they initially thought. Trusses that hold up the roof were rotting, he said.

It’s nothing the company can’t handle, though. Of the company’s 54 properties, 19 are on the National Register of Historic Places.

“It was vacant for a long time and open to the elements,” McMenamin said of the lodge, during a media tour Thursday.

When complete, the Elks Lodge at 565 Broadway will feature a pub, three restaurants and a hotel with about 45 rooms. One former ballroom will include cabin-style rooms with a terrarium feel — McMenamin said he would like to grow herbs, tomatoes and trees for use in the lodge’s kitchen.

The company had said renovating the Beaux-Arts-style lodge would cost around $25 million, which includes the purchase price for the building and the lot to the north. That cost has since increased to $32 million.

McMenamins has sought local investors to help pay for $10 million of the project, of which they have about $6.5 million from about 30 investors, McMenamin said. The minimum investment is $150,000.

About 25 South Sound artists will provide finishing touches for the property. They will paint murals in one of the ballrooms as well as provide glass and metal artworks for the property, McMenamin said.

The company also is negotiating with the city of Tacoma to renew Old City Hall just across the street. If the company secures a long-term lease for that property, construction wouldn’t begin until after the Elks Lodge is done.

“Our total focus is on this project,” McMenamin said.

Kate Martin: 253-597-8542, @KateReports

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