Tribe seeking funds for hotel

Plans still in works for downtown Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — The hotel planned by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe in downtown Port Angeles is still a ways out from breaking ground as the tribe wants to have the whole project financed before it begins construction.

Hotel project manager Michael Peters said inflation has caused costs for the project to increase and that the tribe wants to be able to complete the project in one phase.

“We’re disappointed that we haven’t hit our goals, the goals of changing the face of downtown,” Peters said Tuesday during a Port Angeles Business Association meeting at Joshua’s Restaurant. “Inflation has grabbed us all. We saw it with the waterfront center and the additional resources they had to come up with.”

The hotel project has increased by roughly 25 percent, Peters said, amounting to millions of dollars. The tribe recently spent several million dollars completing the Lower Elwha Klallam Health and Wellness Complex on Highway 101 west of Port Angeles.

“The tribe is committed to this project. They have from the beginning and it continues to this day. We are working hard,” Peters said. “We’re not giving up on the quality of the product, that’s the other key thing. We promised a state-of-the-art facility, we’re still at 106 rooms, and we’re still working on some of those fine details of parking.”

The city of Port Angeles has approved the hotel’s design and is ready to issue permits, Peters said, but the tribe is still working with its bank to secure full funding.

The tribe has discussed the possibility of working on the project in phases but made the decision not to begin construction until full funding is secured, he added.

Unlike some other tribes in Washington, the Lower Elwha doesn’t raise a substantial amount of money from its gaming operations. The tribe recently upgraded its casino facility, but Peters said there are currently no plans to expand gaming as the tribe doesn’t believe it can compete with other tribal casinos located along the Interstate 5 corridor.

“The tribe has talked about the idea of starting the project, but the tribe has decided they don’t want to start the project until they have all the pieces in place so they can move at a steady pace and not have any interruptions,” Peters said.

The tribe began groundwork at its 1.16-acre parcel between East Front Street and Railroad Avenue in September 2022 and has leveled the area, but construction on the building itself has yet to begin. Repair work on the sidewalks adjacent to the site is hoped to be completed before the end of summer, Peters said, a project that should be done within a week or two.

The planned hotel — which has been described as four star — will be four stories, have 106 rooms, a pool and a restaurant overlooking the downtown waterfront.

“One of the key things we’re working on right now is finding the resources to pull all the strings together,” Peters said. “The tribe has decided to wait until we get a little bit more secure on the complete package of funding and then go full force.”

Where the funding will come from is still up in the air, Peters said, but the project is a high priority for the tribe.

“We have great intentions,” Peters said. “It is still a high priority for the tribe, but it’s just taking a ton more time in trying to put the pieces together.”

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Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at peter.segall@peninsulanews.us.

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