Morgan's Brain

Dec. 22, 2009 at 3:17pm

McMenamins Sets Tacoma Elks Lodge Opening Date: St. Patrick’s Day, 2012

This was news to me: The Washington Beer Blog is reporting that the Daily Journal of Commerce is reporting that McMenamins is reporting an opening date for Tacoma Elks Lodge Temple: St. Patrick’s Day, 2012. Apparently, it's a McMenamins to open on that sacred day. I await with mug in hand!

comments [51]  |  posted under tacoma


by Super S.perm on 12/22/2009 @ 3:45pm
isn't the world supposed to end in 2012? well in any case, i'll be getting soused at McMenamins. hooray!!

by NineInchNachos on 12/22/2009 @ 4:33pm
Was able to dine at one of their establishments in Oregon. Really good food!!!!

by Erik on 12/22/2009 @ 5:02pm
Count me in!

Two years and two and a half months though is a long time to wait.

by L.S.Erhardt on 12/22/2009 @ 5:35pm

I look forward to their food and whatever non-alcoholic beverages they may serve.

by Jesse on 12/22/2009 @ 6:02pm
Um, miss... could I get a glass of Black Rabbit Red and a Captain Neon burger please. Thanks.

(just practicing)

by KevinFreitas on 12/22/2009 @ 6:06pm
So cool. Thanks for the update Morgan! I should be a javascript countdown timer thingy for folks to post on their blogs. Hmm...

by AngelaJossy on 12/22/2009 @ 9:05pm
Do you think its too soon to put in a job application?

by jenyum on 12/22/2009 @ 9:39pm
Sweet! Can't wait.

by seejane on 12/22/2009 @ 11:25pm
I'm not Irish and don't o out on St Patrick's Day, but for that I'll be there!

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 12/22/2009 @ 11:28pm
I can see that Doyle's will be thrilled about this development.

by L.S.Erhardt on 12/23/2009 @ 12:06am
Then Doyle's will have to up the ante a little to compete, no?

by Altered Chords on 12/23/2009 @ 8:29am
Tacoma will be teeming with downtown residents by then. Thorax O'Tool will be a hardended alcoholic by then.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 12/23/2009 @ 5:50pm
I'm sure Doyle's would just appreciate a level playing field. Seems like the developers of the Elks project are getting a pretty sweet deal from the City.

by L.S.Erhardt on 12/23/2009 @ 7:55pm
The only thing to get me to be a hardened alcoholic will either be me permanently losing my sense of taste or the creation of some manner of alcoholic beverage in which the taste of the alcohol does not exist.

That's why I don't drink. Not for religious reasons or because of social reasons. It's because I just can't stand the taste of alcohol.

by dolly varden on 12/23/2009 @ 10:29pm
Would Doyle's really want the Elks to collapse/get demolished and lose the potential for their bar to be in a neighborhood that's actually realizing its potential sooner rather than later? Old bars in the Pike/Pine neighborhood or Ballard are not hurting because new stuff has opened around them. For that matter, I don't think the Hub has hurt Doyle's either. I'm not a big fan of McMenamin's food or beer (they're fine, but nothing special -- I'd rather go to Doyle's for a beer, for instance), but I'm psyched for what they'll do for the building, the neighborhood, and the city.

by L.S.Erhardt on 12/24/2009 @ 1:45am
Competition is Healthy.

You don't build an active bar/club scene by having just one or two. You do it by having many.

And if the cards are played well, the St Helens area could be the hot place to be. It's got people, restaurants and some limited shopping.

Keep up the momentum!

by fredo on 12/24/2009 @ 2:04am
Nobody complained that McMenamins' would create an overabundance of establishments or that competition would not be healthy for the pubs. Crenshaw had an issue with the city providing assistance to one pub when there are others in the area that received no city assistance. And you know what? I'm in agreement with him! I'm not in the bar business but if the city decided to build a beautiful new parking garage on a vacant lot next to a commercial property that I planned on leasing I guess I wouldn't complain.

by dolly varden on 12/24/2009 @ 8:03am
This project is hugely important to the city as a whole and merits public assistance -- McMenamin's stepped up to buy the building when nobody else would. Yeah, they insisted on some help from the city, but the alternative was losing a one-of-a-kind building and another Luzon-esque vacant lot that would sit for years until it was replaced by something that inevitably wouldn't be nearly as cool as the Elks. Sounds like a great alternative, doesn't it?

by fredo on 12/24/2009 @ 8:50am
Public assistance for millionaire bankers and insurance executives=bad.

Public assistance for millionaire property owners and pub developers=good.

Thanks for clearing this up.

Final question. How were the owners of the Hub and Doyles able to bring their beautiful pubs to market without public assistance?

by Jake on 12/24/2009 @ 9:24am
What is the public assistance McMenamins is getting again?

by fredo on 12/24/2009 @ 9:32am
As I understand it, the city incurred a general obligation bond to put up a parking garage next to the subject property for the benefit of the developers. I don't recall the denomiation of the bond but I believe it was $10M.

by dolly varden on 12/24/2009 @ 9:39am
To state the excruciatingly obvious, the Hub and Doyle's didn't sign up to save one of the most important buildings in the city.

by fredo on 12/24/2009 @ 10:12am
To state the excruciatingly obvious, it's not hard to save important buildings when the taxpayer is doing much of the heavy lifting.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to diminish the accomplishments of the McMenamins, and I'll be down there as a customer in support of their business.

My comment was posted merely to foster a discussion regarding the taxpayer support which we are apparently required to provide in order to make the dreams of millionaires come true. It's becoming increasingly common in our society for developers to withhold projects until the taxpayers step in to assist. We just went through this with the Rainier's baseball team last month. As a society we've really created an economic Frankenstein. Nothing can happen in the private sector without the requisite taxpayer entanglement.

by Altered Chords on 12/24/2009 @ 11:36am
Elks rennovation is not just a millionairs dream. We all want it to happen. Any millionaire can invest $$ into the rennovation. No millionaire will be a millionaire after investing in an elks rennovation without public assistance because the revenue stream from the rennovated property would never be paid back to the millionaire.

What needs to happen is for the deal to "pencil"

Fredo - when you get to the phillipines you will be considered "a rich american"

If you build a huge bar in the middle of the jungle I'll bet you'll want the gov't to build a road to get people there.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 12/24/2009 @ 11:42am
I would say that having a big fancy parking garage next door to a business that relies on people driving in would be a huge benefit to the business. St. Patrick's day 2012 is still a long way off. I'll believe all of this when I see it. No question the developers will be back to the city for more money before then and more drama will ensue. In for a nickle, in for a dime. We have already seen the games the LeMay people are playing.

by morgan on 12/24/2009 @ 2:47pm
fredo: the property next to the Elks is not being developed by McMenamins. Tacoma should be honored to have McMenamins investing here. I know one community that them when they wanted to buy an old seminary up north. It would have been an incredible project. Lucky for us, McMenamins lost that battle. I heard it would have cost 10's of millions. There aren't too many developers that can do cash out of pocket to make things happen today. I hope they have so much fun in Tacoma that they look around for other projects here. I know of a great project right up their alley on the East Side, for example.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 12/24/2009 @ 6:35pm
Once these developers get into the public treasury they have us at their mercy. One has to look no further than those involved with Pacific Plaza. The City of Tacoma is the gift that keeps on giving. One way or another many more millions of dollars of public funds will be diverted to what has already been committed to this projects, mark my words.

by Jake on 12/24/2009 @ 7:38pm
Doesn't the city want to build parking garages around downtown? I would much rather see a parking garage funded by the city going into a mixed-use project than a stand-alone garage. Seems like a smart move by the city to build a parking garage that 100+ residents, shoppers at a grocery store, hotel & restaurant guests will PAY them to use.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 12/24/2009 @ 7:52pm
Don't we already have enough parking garages, parking lots, and vacant lots around downtown. People willing to pay to park to buy groceries? Absurd. Those would have to be some very magical groceries. Oh, maybe they can even have valet parking for the grocery shoppers, how posh.

by Jake on 12/24/2009 @ 8:17pm
Many mixed-use buildings with retail use validation... so the store would pay if you shop but of course that is going to be paid by the consumer in one way or another.

by KevinFreitas on 12/24/2009 @ 9:23pm
re: Crenshaw "I'll believe all of this when I see it."


by fredo on 12/25/2009 @ 8:05am
"the property next to the Elks is not being developed by the McMenamins" Morgan

Precisely. These handouts to millionaires are rarely direct. They're typically indirect as in this case. By setting up a highly complicated property ownership/development arrangement next
door the McMenamin developers get a huge benefit from the taxpayers but keep their hands clean.

Again, I'm happy to see the Elks renovations. I'm trying to get people to discuss the ramifications of having the taxpayers involved in every major development. Wouldn't it be more fair to have the city provide development funds to every new business in proportion to the scale of the project? In other words, if the city makes a $10M investment to spur a $50M private investment in a tavern why wouldn't it be willing to provide a $10K investment for a small business planning a $50K face lift? Or should development assistance only go to millionaires?

I could go on but I've got a rum and eggnog waiting for me. Have a merry Christmas Morgan.

by ixia on 12/25/2009 @ 3:21pm
Wherever the McMenamins restore a historic site, people flock to it in droves. This can reasonably be expected in Tacoma as well, since it happened over fifty times before. So if the city supports the development I am in support of that. I personally find parking garages the most retarded architectural pieces in existence, but people seem to want it. Let�s wait and see what happens, I am very hopeful on this one, and that is hard given the city�s track record.
Now if you look at the Pacific Plaza building, that is another story altogether. There the city pays favorite not for NEW economic activity, but for a developer who cannibalizes business in other office properties so her can rent what should be retail to office for the AG. The AG in turn ends up wasting over a half a million bucks a year just for moving two blocks over, and we pay the bill. End result? Zero net gain in economic development downtown, a developer who does as he pleases while the city council changes retail rules to favor him, the destruction of our historic Luzon because the developer did not like looking at it, and a half million dollars a year more in government rent spending while schools for the disabled are being closed. So yeah, we do not need developers who screw Tacoma and the State like Putnam does. The McMenamins have a different story and I am willing to believe in the Elks. For now...

by dolly varden on 12/26/2009 @ 10:30am
Ixia nailed it.

by Jesse on 12/26/2009 @ 11:05am
The McMenamins project will be a huge success. The city knows that. They have ALL been huge success stories wherever they have redone an old structure like the Elks. Besides, without some kind of public assistance, the city would lose the Elks building to time, decay, lost business revenue from a remodel, lost revenue from a successful operating business within, and the ability to renovate a high profile building vacant since the early 1960's. In fact, the McMenamins brothers can be credited with much of Portlands cultural rebirth, as a catalyst for density.

So I am saying, this is an investment. An investment is far different than a government handout to millionaires. Investments pay dividends. Handouts don't.

by Jesse on 12/26/2009 @ 11:15am
Also, many older structures are not as fit for renovation and have even more challenges that the Elks. The Luzon, for instance, was built of concrete and mortor in a time where the sand, lime, and foundation dig were all contaminated with dirt. No clean/dry sand equals failure alone, nevermind a very contaminated dig for foundation where dirt was allowed to fall right in the pour.

Notice many pre-1920 buildings made of mortar and concrete, over about four floors didn't survive in this town? That's because their very foundation and mortar aren't great for renovation. It takes a tear-down instead. I'd assume that is what happened in the 1949 earthquake that caused much "urban renewal" in this town. The foundations of all these old buildings turned to mush during the quake and caused buildings to be dangerous and therefore torn down. Other old buildings in town will eventually have to meet this fate as the ability of thier foundations will diminish even for three floor, two floor, etc. structures.

The Old City Hall and the Elks are different. They're built on stone foundations. They can be saved. When you have so few structures that can be renovated and saved for the long haul, you need to do it.

by fredo on 12/26/2009 @ 11:39am
Jesse, I haven't seen any postings that call into question the redevelopment of the old Elk's building. We all like it and we all like the McMenamins.

The issue being debated is the use of public funding to advance the development. That's an issue upon which intelligent people could have varying opinions. Regarding your point that city should help pay for the redevelopment because "the city will be a huge success," that's not good enough for me. The city has previously championed developments which it "knew would be a huge success" (such as the Tacoma Convention Center) which turned out to be utterly pointless exercises in civic ego building.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 12/26/2009 @ 11:58am
I'm with fredo, I can't think of any that are against the Elks being renovated. My problem is Pleasants and Moses who have already gotten about half a million bucks for pre-planning this project. Seems to me they'll have some nice christmas bonuses.

The problem with projects like this are the remora that latch onto projects like this and line their pockets with tax payer money. So long as the likes of Pleasants and Moses are involved with this project there will always be a gun to the head of the city of Tacoma when the hand outs are needed.

Mark my words, these characters will be at the city trough time and time again looking for more ways to pay themselves. I suspect the McMenamins people are quite reputable but they put their own reputations on the line dealing with the likes of Pleasants and Moses.

I have no doubt that a renovated Elks run by the McMenamins people will be a huge success. The weak link is Pleasants and Moses. The success of this project depends less on the McMenamins company and more on the performance of the leeches. Anyone promising major grocers for downtown you have to be suspicious of. That should have made anyone with common sense run from this project. Talking with Trader Joe's is one thing, having them sign up is quite another matter. They say talk is cheap, sadly Pleasants and Moses is not.

by NineInchNachos on 12/26/2009 @ 12:23pm
do Pleasants and Moses have a website? how can we learn more about these folks?

by Jake on 12/26/2009 @ 1:21pm
Rick Moses:
Grace Pleasants :

by Jesse on 12/26/2009 @ 5:44pm
The Pleasants and Moses project is developing a parking structure for thier project AND the necessary parking for the Elks building. Both projects need each other to survive.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 12/26/2009 @ 5:56pm
And apparently Pleasants and Moses need a lot of the City's money to survive. Almost half a million at last count.

by fredo on 12/30/2009 @ 10:47am
"Both projects need each other to survive" Jesse

Because the projects are interrelated the taxpayers have to be involved?

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 12/30/2009 @ 11:00am
Hey, Pleasants and Moses need to make a living. How can they get paid and have fancy offices if the good citizens of Tacoma aren't involved?

by Jake on 12/30/2009 @ 4:29pm
The pre-planning money is probably for the garage part of the project which yes they probably need to do some planning interconnected to the retail/apartments above it.

The garage is going to be a PUBLIC garage and stay a PUBLIC garage owned by the city. Parking fees from residents/shoppers/general public/McM guests will be going to the city for using the garage. I'm not sure if people are getting that or not.

by fredo on 12/30/2009 @ 9:50pm
Jake here's another thing that people may not be getting. The city is using general obligation financing for the garage. The periodic payments for the construction will be made from city funds regardless of whether or not parking revenue is sufficient to meet the obligation. The amount of money generated through parking has no bearing on the obligation. This is my understanding. Please correct me if this is wrong.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 12/30/2009 @ 9:53pm
From the Tribune about the garage always being a PUBLIC garage owned by the city:

McMenamins bought the building and the land under it for $1.2 million, and the city bought the lot for $900,000 using an economic development fund.

Moses and his business partner, developer Grace Pleasants, plan to build a mixed-use development on that lot atop a city-owned parking garage. The development will include a grocery store and five floors of apartments. Part of the developers� agreement with the city gives them 18 months to find financing for their part of the project, during which time they also have the option to buy the land from the city for what it paid plus back taxes and operating costs.

Now that the property has changed hands, Pleasants said Friday, they can start applying for financing. She said talks with potential tenants for the grocery continue, and that two to three grocers are �very interested in our property and talking to us actively.�

What I find interesting is that Pleasants and Moses got almost half a million dollars for the "pre planning" of this garage and property above the garage. These characters apparently have 18 months to find financing. Good lord, they'll be back to the city trough before long asking for more public money. I'm wondering where is the accountability for the money they already have received from the city. Does not the city have the resources on staff to develop their own garage and any potential space above it? Surely the city can ask for their own bids for services. How long will it be before Pleasants and Moses ask to put the land up for collateral for the rest of this project.

I love that they say two to three grocers are actively talking to them. Two to three? Like they aren't sure how many there are "talking" to them. Must be the voices in their heads. Or maybe they are so excited that they found a sucker in the city of Tacoma.

by fredo on 12/30/2009 @ 10:07pm
Crenshaw@ thanks for this additional information.

If I read this story correctly, there is a chance that property next to the Elks could end up in the following configuration: Lot owned by the developers, garage owned by the city, with five floors of developer-owned commercial and residential on top of the city-owned garage. On top of that the developers don't have any of their own money, they have a pile of Tacoma's money and they're leasing spaces that have no secured financing. This looks like another disastrous public/private partnership in the making. Why weren't the developers required to provide some sort of construction bond?

by Erik on 1/14/2010 @ 10:58am
Sometimes one has to read Seattle sources to get information on Tacoma:

Two finalists for Tacoma Elks job
By JOURNAL STAFF January 14, 2010

TACOMA — GLY Construction of Bellevue and Charles Pankow Builders of Oakland, Calif., are the finalists for the public/private Tacoma Elks redevelopment project, according to a city official.

The city plans to develop a 300-stall, $9 million public parking garage next to the old Elks Temple, which Portland-based McMenamins is renovating into a spa, inn and entertainment venue. A limited liability company, Elks on Broadway, plans to develop a $21-million mixed-use project atop the garage. The project is expected to cost $40 million.

At any rate, nice to see things progressing.

by L.S.Erhardt on 1/14/2010 @ 11:35am
Why an Oakland or Bellevue based company?

We have construction companies in town you know. They need jobs too.
Working with a Bellevue-based company is only 1% less bad than a California-based one.

by Jake on 1/14/2010 @ 4:31pm
Thorax they will still be hiring local workers for the job. I think the city is required to go with the lowest bid.

These are the companies that submitted a bid:
G L Y Construction
Bellevue, WA

Serpanok Construction
Tacoma, WA

Chinn Construction + AMAA
Seattle, WA

Oakland, CA

Seems like a low turn out.