Seattle developer ends plans for hotel on port's East Bay property

Staff writerJanuary 2, 2014 

Seattle developer Lorig Associates, which had explored development of a hotel on a Port of Olympia East Bay parcel along State Avenue, announced Thursday that it will no longer pursue that plan.

The company cited a weak economy, including the inability to secure sufficient capital investment for a hotel.

Real estate investments, particularly in a second-tier market such as Olympia, remain sluggish, the company added in a news release.

“We wish we were able to be successful with this project,” Lorig Associates founder and co-owner Bruce Lorig said in a statement. “Olympia is a great community and at some point when the overall economy improves, the time will be right for this investment in downtown.”

Lorig signed a one-year option agreement with the port in 2012, which allowed them to explore development of the East Bay parcel. The company then extended it through 2013, said Mike Reid, senior manager of business development for the port.

As part of the agreement, Lorig also agreed to pay the port $25,000 if it chose not to pursue a project on the site, he said.

“We will be collecting from them,” Reid said Thursday.

Although Lorig cited a still-weak economy for its reasons to pass on the site, the hotel market has recently perked up in Olympia, though most of it is redevelopment projects for existing properties.

Downtown’s Governor Hotel was sold and is undergoing renovations, as is the former Capitol Plaza Hotel, which is set to become an extended stay hotel operating under the Marriott brand.

The Phoenix Inn dropped its name and became a DoubleTree by Hilton, while the new owners of the Capitol Plaza Hotel also plan to bring as many as two hotels to property at Henderson Boulevard and Interstate 5.

The port will continue to work with the state Department of Ecology on the environmental cleanup of the East Bay site. It also will turn its attention to development of a real estate master plan for port properties in downtown Olympia and Tumwater. Public outreach for that plan will be handled by the Thurston Regional Planning Council and the port’s citizen advisory committee.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com

Rolf Boone rboone@theolympian.com 360-754-5403

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