PORT ANGELES — Demolition starts early this week on five downtown Port Angeles buildings being leveled for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe’s four-story, $25 million luxury hotel.
The project encompassing portions of East Railroad Avenue, North Laurel Street and East Front Street will begin in earnest when heavy machinery claws away at the former Necessities & Temptations gift shop, hotel manager Robert Utz said Friday.
“It could be Tuesday or Wednesday before the building actually comes down,” Utz said.
The demolition will occur between 7 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays.
It’s expected to last about six weeks and was scheduled to start the week of Sept. 16.
Utz said the demolition contractor will set up machinery off Railroad across from the Black Ball Ferry Line terminal Monday.
The city has approved demolition permits for the project, which still needs shoreline development and building permits.
The city issued a right-of-way use permit Sept. 12 for intermittent one-lane traffic closures and sidewalk shutdowns.
City inspectors approved erosion and sediment control measures for demolition last week for when trucks begin trundling on and off the site between Necessities & Temptations and the soon-to-be razed Harbor Art Gallery building.
The week of Sept. 30, the Harbor Art Gallery building and the Budget-Avis car rental building are expected to be leveled.
Sidewalks on Railroad and Laurel abutting the buildings will be closed to pedestrians, but streets will be open.
The week of Oct. 7, the industrial-storage garage on Front is set to be razed.
That will require one-lane closures according to a traffic plan and right-of-way use permit approved by city officials.
After the garage’s demise, the Downtown Hotel-Cornerhouse Restaurant building will come down, Utz said.
“By the middle of [this] week, we will have traffic revision plans for the week of the seventh [of October],” Utz said.
Boehme told Peninsula Daily News on Aug. 30 that he had approved the traffic-control part of the permit but was awaiting comments from Clallam Transit, Black Ball Ferry Line, the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Port Angeles Downtown Association.
“Generally, there were no concerns expressed,” Boehme said Friday.
Black Ball wants to ensure that signage clearly directed traffic at the ferry landing across from Necessities & Temptations.
Boehme said drivers heading to the M.V. Coho on their way to Victoria, B.C., can still drive down Lincoln Street to queue up for the vessel on Railroad.
Traffic disembarking the ferry will be diverted west down East Railroad Avenue to Oak Street instead of across Railroad to Laurel, which will see intermittent one-lane blockages during some of the tear-downs.
Pre-construction preparation will include removing 1,500 cubic yards of contaminated soil from under the garage.
Utz predicted construction will begin in November, with completion still scheduled for spring 2020.
Utz could not anticipate when pile driving will begin.
The hotel will still hold 100 rooms.
“I was very excited about the plan we still have,” Utz said.
Getting to this week had some nervous moments focused on the central business district’s 45-foot height restrictions and its effect on the project.
“There was concern with the height limit, that we wouldn’t get four floors to work within the high limitations,” Utz said.
That would have required a conditional use permit and a lengthy review process.
“We’re really maximizing the space we have available to us as a great enhancement to the overall project, that we can actually keep it at four floors,” Utz said.
Utz said design plans from Portland, Ore.-based Waterleaf Architecture will be completed within a couple of weeks.
Utz and the project’s architect team met with city Community and Economic Development Director Allyson Brekke on Friday afternoon.
“The starting line appears to be approaching,” Brekke said after the meeting.
“The demolition, and more importantly, the environmental cleanup of the site, is a very important first step.”
The tribe has yet to apply for the substantial shoreline development permit.
“I don’t anticipate any problems,” Brekke said.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected]. Necessities & Temptations