PORT ANGELES — The last business at the site of a future luxury hotel being built by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe formally moved off the premises Tuesday.
The owners of Celestial Espresso, Celeste and Stan Grall, were told they needed to move their coffee stand, support shed and furnishings by Tuesday morning to make way for crews to begin demolition of other structures at the site, bounded by Lincoln and Laurel streets and Railroad Avenue. A two-level parking structure to the east will remain in place.
The business served its last cup of coffee at its former location at 115 E. Railroad Ave. on Sept. 10.
On Tuesday, the Gralls worked out an arrangement with Black Ball Ferry to temporarily store the stand across the street in a parking spot near the ferry staging area. Black Ball employees, regular customers at the coffee stand, contributed the use of a fork lift to move the structures, and the Gralls spent Tuesday securing it for what they hope will be only temporary storage.
The Lower Elwha Klallam tribe plans to construct a $24 million, four-story, approximately 100-room hotel with a target opening date of July 2020.
Other businesses displaced or put out of business by the future hotel have been Budget/Avis car rental, the Cornerhouse Restaurant, the Downtown Hotel, Harbor Arts gallery and the Necessities & Temptations gift shop, which closed with the retirement of its owner in March.
Plans call for Celestial Espresso to sub-lease a spot on the lower level of the adjacent parking garage mere yards from its former spot just outside the structure. The Gralls are waiting for attorneys to finalize a lease arrangement with Clallam Transit, which owns the garage structure, and Jack Heckman, who operates the parking concession.
“We’re a sub-leaser from the leaser,” Celeste Grall said. “We have to make this legal geegle, mumbo jumbo.”
Once the arrangement receives the green light, electrical and water connections can be installed at the new location.
Stan Grall said the stand could be moved and the business could be up and running in less than a day.
“Once we get that signed up and we get the power in there, we’re good to go,” Stan Grall said. “If he gets the electrical up, I could have it up in four hours.”
Stan Grall said he hoped to have the stand operational well before the Port Angeles Crab Festival, slated for Oct. 10-13. But that date would be contingent on attorney schedules and utility contractors.
Celestial Espresso is on a direct route between the ferry terminal and the festival site in the parking lot of the Port Angeles Crabhouse and Port Angeles City Pier.
Once relocated, Stan Grall said the new spot in the garage would be a favorable move for the business.
“We’ll be out of the rain, out of the wind, out of the weather,” he said.
Celeste Grall said she had heard from many of their regulars expressing sadness that they couldn’t get their morning coffee, including Clallam Transit drivers and passengers at the nearby transit center. She said she hoped to have the espresso machine and coffee pot running again as soon as possible for passengers, ferry customers and other ongoing clientele.
“Everyone’s bummed — a lot of unhappy customers,” she said.
Photojournalist Keith Thorpe can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 59050, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.