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Brewster, investors buy Seattle landmark

The "Dome Room" on the Arctic Building's third floor features leaded-glass canopies. The building was constructed in 1917 as the headquarters of the fraternal Arctic Club. (Burgess Weaver Design Group / The Spokesman-Review)

Montvale Hotel owner Rob Brewster and a team of investors from Spokane and Seattle recently purchased the historic Arctic Club Building in downtown Seattle for $5.1 million.

They plan to spend $16.5 million transforming it into an upscale boutique hotel, just blocks from Pioneer Square and Safeco Field, Brewster said. Intervest, a subsidiary of Spokane-based Sterling Savings Bank, loaned the development team $17.7 million for the project, Brewster said.

The three other partners in Arctic Club Hotel LLC are Spokane’s Bill Lawson and Chris Ashenbrener, who have developed 27 hotels in Washington, Alaska and Idaho, and Stephen Day, a Seattle architect and attorney, Brewster said.

The hotel, which is scheduled to open next summer, will eventually become affiliated with a prominent, national hotel chain. However, the partners declined to reveal the name of that company.

Though the 117-room hotel will compete with luxury hotels such as W Seattle, Hotel Monaco and the Alexis, Brewster said the Arctic would benefit from its proximity to tourist attractions and from public sentiment toward the building.

“This is a well-loved downtown Seattle landmark,” Brewster said. “It’s been called one of Washington state’s greatest architectural and historical treasures.”

Additional financing will come from the project developers, who are contributing $1.6 million, and from the use of historic tax credits associated with the building’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places, Brewster said.

The 10-story building’s previous owner was the city of Seattle, which used it for office space. The city initially offered the Arctic for sale along with another historic building, but eventually sold them to different parties, said Joan Rosenstock, a senior strategic planner. Brewster’s team was selected from among nine offers for the Arctic because of financial soundness and a solid track record, she said.

“We liked the fact they were using it for an historic hotel and we liked the price,” Rosenstock said. “It was a combination of highest value plus the use.”

The building, originally built in 1917 as the headquarters of the fraternal Arctic Club, features the third floor “Dome Room,” with an ornate domed ceiling and leaded-glass canopies. Walrus gargoyles and terra cotta facades also adorn the landmark structure, the developers said in a news release.

The ground floor, which is 100 percent leased to retail tenants including two restaurants and a bank, will continue to be used for retail space, Brewster said. The partners would like to lease the 6,700-square-foot basement to a spa and will develop 12 penthouse suites on the top floor with access to garden terraces.

Brewster said standard room rates will be about $178.