PBIA Advisory Board backs hotel proposal for historic 108 State Avenue building


Most members of the Parking and Business Improvement Area (PBIA) Advisory Board expressed support for the hotel redevelopment proposal submitted in response to the 108 State Avenue building, a structure built in 1912 that formerly housed Olympia's fire station and city hall.

On Wednesday, January 3, Olympia Economic Development Director Mike Reid gave an update to the board on two proposals the city received for the historic structure.

Reid said the Olympia Arts and Heritage Alliance (AHA) proposed a long-term subsidized lease to turn the building into an art, history, and culture museum with additional complementary uses like art studios, classrooms, a workshop, and a small retail/cafe. They sought to have maintenance and utility costs covered by the city through a 25-year lease with an additional 25-year extension option.

The other proposal from the Ladderhouse group expressed the intention to purchase the building to develop it into a 28-32-room boutique hotel featuring amenities like a cafe, event space, outdoor areas, and rooftop deck. Their model involved buying the property and undertaking the significant tenant improvements needed to convert it into a hotel offering different room styles and shared facilities.

According to Reid, while the RFP indicated the city's preference to retain ownership of the old building, it also allowed for proposals that involved the private purchase of the property. Applicants were instructed that if they proposed acquiring the building, they needed to explicitly explain why the purchase was necessary rather than leasing the site from the city.

PBIA board member Oliver Stormshak expressed concern about retaining the city ownership and being responsible for maintaining the building long-term. He said there could be issues as the building ages. He said that by selling the building, the new owner's responsibility would be to bring it up to current standards and codes to run it as a viable business.

Kyle Radanovic, another board member, suggested that if the hotel proposal was approved, the city could add a requirement for the developers to include elements honoring the building's history in the lobby and throughout the hotel. This would help ensure the structure's historic nature was recognized and preserved in some form, even with the change in use to a hotel.

Reid informed the board about honoring the building's history by noting that the hotel proposal already included plans to feature and celebrate the structure's historic nature. Specifically, the proposal discussed naming individual hotel rooms after significant historical places and people from the surrounding region to recognize and incorporate the building's past into the new use.

On December 12, 2023, Reid presented both proposals to the city council, which formed a subcommittee to examine the submissions further.

Mayor Dontae Payne and councilmembers Lisa Parshley and Jim Cooper were selected for the subcommittee. They aim to work directly with the proposers to understand the proposals better.

Reid encouraged the PBIA board members to send him additional comments and questions they may have. 


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here