PORT ANGELES — The downtown Elks Naval Lodge that was damaged in a December fire is on the road to recovery.
A painting crew has starting shellacking the interior to seal off lingering smoke smells, while the Elks seek demolition and building permits to restore the 1920s downtown building to its original glory.
The street-level storefronts that housed Camera Corner photography shop and @Play Internet Cafe will likely be completed first to allow the businesses to reopen.
Total construction at the lodge, in the city’s tallest building at the corner of Lincoln and First streets, should be completed in fewer than five months, Project Manager and Elks board member Ron Johnson said.
“Everything is kind of beginning to come together finally, so we’re very pleased about that,” he said.
The Dec. 9 fire in the historical five-story building — likely caused by faulty electrical equipment inside Camera Corner — destroyed the shop and the cafe next door, heavily damaged the Elks’ second-floor game room and caused some damage to the third-floor ballroom.
The fire saturated the building with smoke. The entire building, except for the front office, has been unusable since.The Elks have partially resumed lodge operations in a storefront facing Lincoln Street on the building’s east side.