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Originally published Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 8:20 PM

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Construction to begin in fall on McMenamins Bothell hotel

McMenamins has finally rounded up enough private funds to break ground on its first hotel resort in the Seattle area this fall. They expect the $25 million transformation of Bothell’s old Anderson School campus to be finished by the end of next year.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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Construction of the Seattle area’s first McMenamins hotel resort will begin this fall at Bothell’s old, art-deco-style Anderson School, the company announced. The resort is expected to open by the end of 2015.

The $25 million project has been in the works for at least six years as a public-private partnership between the city of Bothell and the Portland-based company, which is famous for reviving historical buildings in the Pacific Northwest with restaurants, hotels, bars, theaters and music venues. Bothell City Manager Bob Stowe said he expects building permits to be issued for the project within the week.

To complete funding for the project this year, McMenamins launched a crowdfunding effort among wealthy investors with the intention of raising $8 million. By August, the company had collected $6.3 million and secured a loan from HomeStreet Bank for an additional $1 million, bringing it close enough to the funding goal to close the crowdfunding effort Friday.

The initial cost estimate of the project was closer to $26 million, but the budget has been tightened a bit, said McMenamins Chief Financial Officer Larry Dortmund.

Although some of its hotels have ended up costing more as elements were added, Dortmund said the company has never invested as much money up front as it has with the Anderson School. McMenamins operates 52 pubs, restaurants and historic hotels in the Pacific Northwest.

He said construction and renovation of the Anderson School site, at 18603 Bothell Way Northeast, could begin as soon as the end of September, and expects the property to be finished 13 months after that.

The company is still selecting Puget Sound-region artists to customize the interior art and design. McMenamins resorts often combine presentation of local historical artifacts with new art that pays tribute to the area’s cultural past. The company’s historian, Tim Hills, already is collecting stories and memorabilia from Anderson School alums. The school was built in 1931 as Bothell Junior High and later was renamed W.A. Anderson School as a tribute to a beloved principal.

The company is known for leaving behind quirky hints of the building’s prior uses. Entire chalkboards are left in the hotel rooms at its Kennedy School destination in Portland, for example.

The Anderson School project will include 73 hotel rooms, a restaurant, bars, a brewery, a theater and a tropical, tiki-themed pool area. Under the public-private partnership, the city sold the school to McMenamins at a discount and the company will make the pool and some meeting rooms available to Bothell residents for free for at least 15 years.

McMenamins wants to build more resorts in Washington, with the next involving a renovation of an old Elks Lodge building in Tacoma the company bought in 2012. Dortmund said the company won’t be pouring energy into that project for a while, though.

“We are really going to be focused on this project for the next 13 months,” Dortmund said Friday of the Anderson School. “We’ve got an existing Old St. Francis School hotel in Bend (Ore.) we might expand. Then the Elks project — that’s the next one on the list.”

Alexa Vaughn: 206-464-2515 or avaughn@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @AlexaVaughn.



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