Ownership of the downtown Elks Temple and the adjacent property officially changed hands Friday.
“This is a major step towards bringing this project to fruition,” said developer Rick Moses in a news release announcing the closing.
Portland developer Williams & Dame transferred ownership of the Elks building to McMenamins Pubs & Breweries, and of the vacant land to the north to the City of Tacoma.
Tacoma’s City Council approved agreements in September that separated the projects even though development will roll along simultaneously. McMenamins bought the building and the land under it for $1.2 million, and the city bought the lot for $900,000 from 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 2-3 grocers are “very interested in our property and talking to us actively.”
McMenamins plans to restore the historic Elks building and convert it to a brewpub, music venue, hotel and spa. Construction is scheduled to start next fall, and the opening is scheduled for spring 2012.
“The neighborhood and the whole downtown will become a major cultural and entertainment destination for the entire Puget Sound area,” Pleasants said in the news release.