Construction of new hotel in Tumwater finally underway

Construction of an 80-room La Quinta hotel is finally underway in Tumwater on Capitol Boulevard, making it the first newly constructed hotel in Thurston County in four years.

And that’s good news for franchise owner Satpal Sohal, who first pitched the idea of a new hotel in Tumwater at 4600 Capitol Boulevard SE about two years ago.

“The biggest hurdle was financing,” said Sohal, but he finally secured about $10 million for the total project. He is aiming to open the La Quinta, his fifth hotel, by the end of May, just in time to capture hotel reservations generated by the U.S. Open golf championship at Chambers Bay, Pierce County.

“Everyone is prepared for it,” he said about the golf tournament, including his La Quinta in Auburn. He also operates an Econolodge in Chehalis, a Quality Inn in Liberty Lake and an independent hotel in Umatilla, Ore.

In addition to 80 rooms, the four-story hotel will feature a beer and wine bar, conference space, an indoor swimming pool, fitness center and a small store selling sundries. It also will offer breakfast service and employ about 15 people, Sohal said.

Another hurdle for the hotel project was that it needed to secure a conditional use permit in order to exceed a 50-foot building height limit, Tumwater Community Development Director Mike Matlock said. But that was only needed for the elevator tower, he said.

Most of the building is under 50 feet, Matlock said.

Although this is the first newly constructed hotel in Thurston County since a Best Western Plus sprouted in Lacey in 2011, several hotels have changed hands and continue to be updated.

Downtown Olympia’s Governor Hotel has new owners and has undergone renovations, with more planned. The former Capitol Plaza Hotel, also on Capitol Way, has a new owner, and renovations are underway there, and the former Phoenix Inn downtown switched brands to the Double Tree by Hilton.

The new Tumwater hotel occupies acreage that was once owned by developer Tri Vo, who had planned a 10-building, mixed-use development called Bellatorre that was curtailed by the recession. South Sound Bank eventually foreclosed on the property, which was still undeveloped, and subdivided it into lots.

The hotel occupies one of those lots.