McMenamins coming to Bothell? City Council discussing it today

Today the Bothell City Council is considering a plan that would see McMenamins (the Portland-based company known for revitalizing languishing historic properties) renovate an aging school building and help bring some much-needed life to downtown Bothell. The Mayor and the City Manager are both excited about the prospect of McMenamins coming to town and are hopeful that the Council shares their enthusiasm.

Not too long ago, McMenamins was interested in developing a hotel, pub and entertainment facility at the old seminary building at St. Edward State Park in Kenmore. The neighborhood freaked out. Opponents feared that the renovated seminary would promote underage drinking and fill the streets with inebriated motorists. Hurray for the neighborhood, they successfully chased McMenamins away. Now the beautiful, historic seminary building can simply continue to rot. Not far away, the city of Bothell is proving itself to be much less myopic.

The W.A. Anderson School building in downtown Bothell.

Reports say that plans are being drawn up for McMenamins to purchase and renovate the old Anderson school in Bothell along with other buildings on the property. The project is expected to create a 70 room hotel, restaurant, pub, movie theater, live music venue and spa. What’s more, the company will renovate a public swimming pool and let Bothell residents use it free-of-charge for 15 years. They will also develop a community meeting space and public gardens.

No wonder the people up the hill in Juanita/Kenmore didn’t want McMenamins coming to town. Those public gardens sound horrible.

A report published in the Daily Journal of Commerce confirms that, in total, McMenamins is looking to develop over 5 acres in downtown Bothell. The report says the company will pay $2.3 million for the property. The city estimates that the project will provide $4.7 million worth of community benefits.

A company spokeswoman was unsure of the total cost. She said the deal is set to close in April of 2011, and construction would start in May of 2012.

City Manager Bob Stowe told the Daily Journal of Commerce, “First and foremost, we have the ability to preserve the (W.A.) Anderson Building.”
Stowe added McMenamins will offer live music along with movies in what is now the school gym. Stowe said the purchase price for the property is $7 million in cash and community benefits. One of those benefits is McMenamins taking over the shuttered Ruiz/Costie Northshore Pool, closed since August of last year.

Stowe said McMenamins’ hotel guests will have access to the pool, but so will Bothell residents, free-of-charge, for 15 years after the pool reopens.

According to McMenamins Marketing Director Renee Rank, plans for the Anderson building include a 70-room hotel, full-service restaurant along with smaller pub spaces, a movie theater, catering space, a gift shop, day spa and a soaking pool. She says the Bothell building will resemble the McMenamins Kennedy School property in Portland.

The company is looking to close its deal for the Anderson building in April 2011. Construction would begin in May 2012, with an opening date of June 2013.

“It’s great news,” Bothell Mayor Mark Lamb told the Daily Journal of Commerce. “It’s extremely exciting news,” noting that it fits in well with his plans and hopes for a revitalized downtown Bothell. “This is the first significant private sector investment.”

Stowe and other city officials emphasized the deal for the Anderson Building is subject to approval from City Council, which is scheduled to address the matter today (June 15th).

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  1. This is great news! We live in Kenmore and were very sad when a small group of people chased away McMenamins. I do not blame Mcmenamins for not wanting to come into a community that is so small minded. I am very happy for our neighboring city Bothell and will support the new brewpub regularly. Way to go Bothell!

  2. Great news!!!! As a soon to be annexed citizen of Bothell, I will be proud to see this approved.

  3. I think it’s a great day for the citizens of Bothell. I’ve been to the Kennedy School and it looks great. Hope everything goes smoothly.

  4. We’ve spent one night at the Hotel Oregon, and a couple nights at McMenamin’s Edgefield – and we want to go back, except that they are always sold out these days. Very popular, and deservedly so. Bothell is in for a huge treat, the McMenamins do it up right.
    – Mrs. Beer Blog

  5. I think McMenamins is a great restaurant, I don’t know why they need one in Bothell when there is one in Mill Creek, but every time I would walk by there the place smelled great. I’m sure the food is really good, I don’t really think it’s necessary though for them to close down a community pool and school for a bar that serves alcohol. What about Bothell’s community values? If you want that kind of Nightlife, just head to Mill Creek folks and Lynnwood. We have enough hotels, and enough spas and enough movie theaters just five miles in any other direction. I just don’t see it. If they were to displace these two community services, on the other hand would be a different story probably. Bothell is being demolished! First they take the skatepark, now the pool, now the alternative school, what next?

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