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McMenamins work on Tacoma Elks Temple on track, company spokeswoman says

Post by Kathleen Cooper / The News Tribune on June 5, 2012 at 3:15 pm with No Comments »
June 5, 2012 3:15 pm

The City of Tacoma’s plans to rebuild Stadium Way won’t affect McMenamins’ renovation of downtown’s Elks Temple, the company said today.

“Anything the city’s doing won’t change our plans,” said Renee Rank Ignacio, McMenamins spokeswoman.

The city soon will begin a $13 million renovation of Stadium Way. It was built in the 1920s and is failing. When it’s done, it will be safer in an earthquake, as well as feature a resurfaced road, new sidewalks, bike lanes, pedestrian crossings, ornamental lighting and landscaping.

The project will happen in two phases. The first will handle the two end segments (near Stadium High School to the north and the Elks Temple to the south). That’s scheduled to be completed this fall, well before the spring 2013 opening McMenamins has said its shooting for.

The city’s Stadium Way project manager said yesterday that the city has been working closely with McMenamins’ architect and engineer for more than a year, including an on-site meeting last week to discuss what to do about the sidewalk and a storage tank buried below it.

“We’ve been trying to find out what the sidewalk in front of their building will be like so we can build it as part of our project,” said Mark D’Andrea, the city’s Stadium Way improvement project manager. “We’ve added storm and sanitary connections that they’ve requested. They will also have access to their building for work at all times when Commerce/Stadium is under construction (as all businesses will have), and they also have an entrance on Broadway.”

The Portland-based brewpub operator is in the process of buying the Temple annex, the add-on structure attached to the north side of the building, Ignacio said. The annex initially was going to be demolished to make way for the new mixed-use building on the empty site next door, but those plans fell through. When that happened, McMenamins had to bring hotel rooms back into the Temple. Mike McMenamin said then that the company might have to reconsider the annex.

Ignacio said any delay in renovating the Temple could be attributed to completing that transaction, not the city’s plans. She said work likely will begin in August.

This is the part of the blog post where I admit a total journalistic failure: I did’t ask her how an August start date would affect the opening date. (I have no excuses other than brain burp.) If work begins in August, and they are trying for an opening on St. Patrick’s Day, that leaves only about 8 months to get it all done.

I’m thinking the opening day probably will be later than March 17, and I’ll update this post if I hear back from Ms. Ignacio on this point.

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