Murano to buy Bicentennial Pavilion

The city of Tacoma has approved an agreement to sell Bicentennial Pavilion to the owners of the adjacent Hotel Murano. The deal authorizes an option agreement with an affiliate of Provenance Hotels to purchase the 33-year-old facility for $2.24 million.

The council passed another resolution extending the management agreement with the hotel for six years.

The facility opened in July 1976. Designed by Tacoma architect Robert Billsbrough Price, it cost $2.6 million, of which $1 million was a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Martha Anderson of the city's Community and Economic Development Department said a covenant attached to that grant prohibits the city from selling for 40 years. City staff and federal employees are discussing if the city can obtain permission to sell prior to then. Therefore the option term expires on Dec. 31, 2015 or when the existing federal covenant expires or is released.

Hotel owners agree not to maintain or construct anything that will compete directly with Greater Tacoma Trade and Convention Center, the city-owned facility a block away.

An appraisal done by Marx/Okubu Associates of Seattle identified $1.9 million worth of repairs needed within two years. This includes work on the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and replacing partition walls. In some spots water leaks inside on rainy days.

The new deal shifts responsibilities for repairs from the city to the hotel, which will also now pay for insurance.

The city was getting a base fee of 10 percent on gross revenues from events. The new deal reduces this to 5 percent due to the hotel's expanded level of responsibility.

Extension of the management agreement revises hotel booking policies to provide better coordination between operations of the pavilion and convention center.

Leaders of the hotel chain's management have stated they will invest several million dollars into structural and aesthetic improvements.

Councilmember Jake Fey said it is best for the hotel to own and manage the facility. "It is not in the city's best interest to own this."


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