I attended the CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) meeting in Tacoma, WA this past week. A great luncheon event at the Hotel Murano in downtown Tacoma.
Oregon-based McMenamins is bringing their unique business model of restoring historic buildings in the Pacific Northwest like the 100 year old Elks Hall in old downtown Tacoma into a brewery, 45 guestrooms, a space for live music, three restaurants, and a ballroom.
George Signorie, Senior Associate at Ankrom Moisan Architects in Portland gave a great (and quite funny) presentation about the makeover. George has been working with the McMenamins for about 10 years now helping them to breath new life into mostly dormant urban neighborhoods through renovation and re-imaging landmarks.
Tacoma, the City of Destiny since 1873 when it became the Northern Pacific Railroad’s western terminus, has had its share boom and bust and ups and downs. Just before our recent “great recession” downtown Tacoma was realizing a renaissance. Yet the financial crash and its adverse affect on real estate in the South Sound it totally stalled.
McMenamins interest in choosing downtown Tacoma as a redevelopment site is not only welcome but an encouraging sign of a long awaited recovery and enhances the value and faith in a wonderful community like Tacoma.
As one who travels throughout the Northwest, I’ve enjoyed many of McMenamins locations in Portland, Roseburg, and Vancouver. One of my favorite events a few years ago was a Tech Fair held at the Kennedy School McMenamins in East Portland where I gave a talk on social media marketing.
The Elks Temple was designed in the second Renaissance Revival style by Edward Frere Champney, a graduate of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts who made his reputation designing many of the buildings for the Seattle 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. It was built in 1915-16. It’s been vacant for around 40 years now and needs a lot of TLC, but remains structurally in pretty decent shape.