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Plans for apartment/retail building, next to downtown Tacoma’s McMenamins Elks, come to official end

Post by Kathleen Cooper / The News Tribune on March 26, 2012 at 1:02 pm with No Comments »
March 26, 2012 2:04 pm
Photograph of a model showing the concept for a building next to the Elks Temple. Model by ZGF architects

A letter last week was the official end of plans for a new apartment building and city-owned parking garage next door to McMenamins’ Elks Temple.

In a one-page letter dated March 21, Tacoma city manager T.C. Broadnax informed Rick Moses, Grace Pleasants that the development agreement struck in 2009 is dissolved. That agreement was the official reflection of the three-party deal Pleasants and Moses brokered that brought Portland-based brewpub McMenamins to town.

“The City appreciates your efforts in trying to make this tri-party Project work even in challenging economic times,” Broadnax wrote.

Lest we all get confused, McMenamins has maintained through this spring that their plan to renovate the historic Elks Temple is undeterred. The company is in the process of getting city permits now, with plans to begin work soon after. They have said they plan to open in the spring of 2013.

Mike McMenamin also has told me that he’s not worried about his customers finding parking, so the news last month that the city-owned garage would need a $10 million city subsidy didn’t really change anything for them.

That news, however, brought Moses and Pleasants’ $32 million mixed-use project to a public end. Broadnax’s letter last week made it official.

As part of the original three-party agreement, McMenamins does have 30 days to decide if it wants to buy the property north of the Temple, city spokesman Rob McNair-Huff told me. The city paid $900,000 for it back in 2009.

Exercising that option would require McMenamins to propose a development plan for the land, which would come before the City Council for review. And if McMenamins passes?

“We’re waiting to see if McMenamins has a desire. If not, we have a conversation about what happens next,” McNair-Huff said.

I’ve called Mike McMenamin to see if he’ll share their plans with me. I’ll update this post if I hear back.

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