South Sound News

Progress made at new McMenamins' Elks Temple Hotel

TACOMA, Wash. — It has taken 15 months of work and more than $34 million to restore and redesign the 113-year-old building that was once the home of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks.

Now it will house 45 hotel rooms, and three bars, including a secret bar. “You just got to stumble on it, you know,” said Dan McMenamin.

There’s also an in-house brewery, live music venues and three restaurants. All designed with the goal of working the lodge's past into its future.

“You know the building will start talking,” McMenamin said. “We usually have historians working kind of early on finding out the sort of back history of the building.”

The McMenamin family has made their name restoring and repurposing historic buildings in Oregon and Washington.

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Some of the history they're preserving at the Elks lodge comes from a time when the building was abandoned and a favorite spot for graffiti artists who broke into the abandoned structure to paint the walls.

Some of those artists were tracked down and commissioned to decorate spaces in the building, including one of the hotel rooms

Work on the Elks lodge has been tough at times. Pictures scattered around the work site show how years of neglect nearly destroyed the structure before work began to bring it back to life.

“Oh, there was some exploration,” McMenamin said. “The roof was in poor shape. It’s hard to imagine what shape it could have been in with water pouring through it.”

McMenamins Elks Temple is located at 565 Broadway on the north end of Tacoma’s downtown and is expected to open April 24.