PORT ANGELES — The Lincoln Theater in Port Angeles is now gutted as entrepreneur Jacob Oppelt eyes design work and permitting to transform it into a “premiere” performance venue.
“If everything goes as smooth as possible, I’d say right now we’d be eight months away,” Oppelt said. “Eight to 12 [months] would be my guess right now.”
Oppelt led a tour of the building Wednesday after a Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce luncheon in which he provided an update on his multiple business ventures.
Marc Abshire, chamber executive director, said he invited Oppelt to speak before Oppelt announced his candidacy for the Port Angeles City Council. Oppelt discussed only his business efforts during the presentation.
Oppelt, who in November said he hoped Macklemore would headline opening night sometime this summer, said there had been delays in the project.
“We ran into the hurdles of electrical, plumbing and mechanical engineering that I was not aware we were going to have to outsource,” he said. “That’s been the biggest holdup.”
He told the chamber audience he hopes to have drawings of the performance hall finished within the next four weeks so he can begin the permitting process for the construction.
Oppelt’s Jam Properties of PA LLC purchased the Lincoln Theater in June. He also co-owns the vacant Maurices building on West First Street across from Next Door Gastropub, of which he is co-owner.
Oppelt said the performance venue will have premiere sound and lighting, and would draw world-class music at a local level. The venue would have just shy of 400 seats, he said.
Tickets, he said, could cost more than they might in Seattle, but he emphasized the convenience of not having to leave the Olympic Peninsula to catch a show in Seattle.
Oppelt said he isn’t concerned with competition from the Port Angeles Waterfront Center, a performing arts center also planned for downtown.
The late Donna M. Morris of Port Angeles left $9 million to the Peninsula College Foundation to develop the performing arts center.
Organizers have said the waterfront center would likely have fewer than 300 seats.
“We will be more so on the music scene than you would see in the city,” Oppelt said, adding that local bands would likely open for out-of-town headliners.
Oppelt is also continuing work on the vacant Maurices building, which he plans to transform into a “boutique hotel.”
He said design work is underway but didn’t offer a timeline for the project.
“I hope it happens sooner than later, but it’s a big project and there’s a lot of hoops to jump through,” he said.
Oppelt said the plan is for it to be a three-story hotel with 24 to 28 rooms that would feature a bar and restaurant in the lobby.
He’s looking toward financing for the project but said he needs the design work finished first.
“It’s not the easiest thing to get financed for a hotel,” he said.
Oppelt said he is not concerned about another hotel effort for downtown Port Angeles and that there’s a big enough need for lodging that he doesn’t see a problem.
The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe is negotiating with city officials to purchase central downtown property at 111 E. Front St. for a $25 million, 86-room hotel.
“Ours will be a little more focused,” Oppelt said, adding that it would likely have a higher rate than the tribe’s hotel.
“I don’t think there’s any shortage of need for lodging downtown,” he said. “It doesn’t affect my plan.”
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.