Followup: New details on West Seattle motel’s renovation plan

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

In most communities, an announcement about renovations in the works for a motel would be greeted with a shrug, if that.

But when your community has only *one* motel, as is the case in West Seattle, it’s big news. So that’s why, after publishing the news release sent last week on behalf of the Seattle West Inn‘s new owners/management, we pursued more information about what’s in the works.

Read on to see what we found out from the two key players with whom we spoke:

You might recall that the first hint at a new future for the motel site came in 2008, when Harbor Properties, which built Mural (WSB sponsor) in The Junction and is almost finished building Link in The Triangle, announced it was working on a deal to buy the property. That deal wasn’t completed, however, which is part of what paved the way for this, according to Lynn Sweeney, a spokesperson for the new owners.

“When that was really no longer moving forward, we saw it as an opportunity … Our family’s owned properties here for a long time, and I come from somewhat of a hotel background. It was a unique opportunity to step in and be hands-on and involved in the renovation.”

The involvement of hospitality-marketing/hotel-management veteran Jim Wilmer – Sweeney’s business partner — was a deciding factor, too. She explained that he’s been working a while on a concept for a lodging brand; they’re not sure this will be the pioneer property for that concept, but they’ll see how it goes: “Much more modern, more inviting, business-traveler-friendly, female-traveler-friendly … there are certain things with technology for today’s traveler that we’d like to try out. The bottom line is that we would just like it to be a clean, safe, friendly place to stay, with the chance to have some events and meetings there. Being born and raised in West Seattle, I know how much we could use that.”

Marketing the motel – which will keep the name Seattle West Inn and Suites for now – to the meeting trade is a big part of the plan. Sweeney says its existing meeting space, on the basement level, even including a kitchenette – “surprised” her when they walked through the property, as did the suites (yes, it really has “suites”). Jim Wilmer says the downstairs space is 1,300 square feet; they’re also planning on a 600-square-foot “meeting suite,” a hospitality suite and board room. A lot of meeting space for what he expects will end up as a 48-room property, he acknowledges, adding that the property already has “as many amenities as you’d find in a 200-room hotel,” even a full hotel laundry.

Per Sweeney, they will market outside West Seattle to some degree: “We definitely want to compete with the business-traveler market, to be a midscale price (for) people who don’t want to pay the rates they’re going to pay downtown but want convenient and easy access to downtown, the airport …”

As for specifics of the renovation, Wilmer provided more of those. We noted that no building permit was noted online yet; he said they’re still in the design phase, and that they won’t be doing much actual construction work – the building will get a facelift (he mentioned paint and steel), and parking-lot space will be converted into a courtyard. (There will be replacement parking “offsite.”)

No renderings yet, either: “We’re just in the final phases of selecting materials and furnishings and fixtures to put it out to bid.”

The lobby/check-in area will have a bistro/deli – not a sit-down restaurant so much as a place for guests and nearby workers/residents to come get food for takeout, no room service either – “the concept is self-service,” Wilmer explained. The aforementioned courtyard will be adjacent, as will a “living room,” and that’s where there will be places to sit for people who don’t want to just take food (or beer/wine that’ll be available) back to their rooms.

Those rooms will have new furnishings and fixtures too, as well as coffeemakers, microwaves, refrigerators, wi-fi, flatscreen TVs. Their actual configuration, as well as the main building, won’t change – “we like the midcentury aspect.”

Overall, Wilmer says, “We want to make (the motel) a focal point of the (Triangle/Junction area).”

New manager Joey Disque (whose background is described in last week’s news release) has been on the job since October, according to Sweeney, who says he “has done some great things – it’s been busy, and good. He just sort of tidied up … (to make it a) more warm, friendly, welcoming environment.”

And that’s apparently just the start.

20 Replies to "Followup: New details on West Seattle motel's renovation plan"

  • Kelly December 21, 2010 (1:03 pm)

    I’d like to know if they’re considering green/sustainability in their upgrades, or in their ongoing operations & maintenance. Green lodging/events are big and especially in our neighborhood you’d think it would be a “no brainer”. Hope to see some follow-up on that front.

  • old timer December 21, 2010 (3:17 pm)

    This sounds really interesting.
    I wish them all the good luck they can use!

    It sure will be nice to have the facility they describe.
    And, it’s within walking distance to
    …wait for it…
    …………TRADER JOE”S!

  • Meghan December 21, 2010 (3:51 pm)

    This is well overdue and very encouraging! There is such an untapped market for a decent hotel in West Seattle! If they can make it aesthetically pleasing, modern and clean, it’ll be a huge success. It’s just too bad it’s still a motel. I know most women don’t really feel safe with an outside door. I wonder if there is any chance they could enclose the exterior corridors with glass and make them key-access only. I’ve seen that done very successfully at other motels. It really does provide a better sense of security. Plus you can call in a hotel then.

  • M December 21, 2010 (3:57 pm)

    If they really want it to be convenient to the airport, they need to find a way to have the 560 stop in front of it. Does it pick up people in front of the VFW? As far as I know, the first stop is the Junction.

  • Sue December 21, 2010 (4:19 pm)

    You’re correct, M: the first 560 stop is in the Junction. Great idea about seeing if they could arrange for a stop in front of the hotel. While it’s easy in theory to hop on a 54/55/22 and transfer in the junction, that’s easier said than done with luggage. That’s why I walk the 1/2 mile dragging my luggage, rather than a bus change.

  • miws December 21, 2010 (4:47 pm)

    That’s a good point, M.


    Yes, currently the first stop for the 560 is the Junction, although its layover spot is near/in front of the American Legion Hall between 36th & 37th, on Alaska. If Sound Transit could be convinced to make that first Airport bound/last WS bound stop, that would be great for the Motel and its guests.


    My only concern though, is that Sound Transit was talking sometime back about only running the 560 as far as Westwood Village, into West Seattle. I believe they had intended for it to take place by now, but changed their minds.


    IIRC, they were still considering it for sometime in the future though. I’ll have to do some research and see if I can find out the latest on that.



  • OP December 21, 2010 (5:01 pm)

    Finally, a place for the inlaws aside from the garage. (Relax, I kid.)

  • miws December 21, 2010 (5:09 pm)

    Aw geeze! Just checked the ST website, and the following change is proposed for June 2011:

    •Service on the segment of Route 560 between West Seattle Junction and Burien Transit Center would be discontinued except for weekday a.m. and p.m. commute periods.
    •West Seattle service would operate on weekdays only from about 4:20 a.m. to about 9 a.m. and from about 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.


    Now I wish I hadn’t looked! :cry:



    • WSB December 21, 2010 (8:50 pm)

      Thanks for noting that, Mike. I have a couple Sound Transit news releases and must have missed that if it was announced recently … will recheck…

  • Lauren December 21, 2010 (6:31 pm)

    I walk by this motel a few days a week, and always think about the potential if it were renovated. We DO need more lodging options in West Seattle for visiting relatives and friends. Of course, don’t forget about Wildwood Bed and Breakfast at Fauntleroy by the ferry – rates start at $90 and include breakfast. It’s a terrific place for your visiting relatives. Also, there are a few good Alki-area cottage rentals on VRBO / Homeaway.
    -Lauren / Northwest Cheapsleeps

  • AJP December 21, 2010 (8:25 pm)

    They are steps from the Y too. They should work out a deal with them.

  • LAP December 21, 2010 (8:44 pm)

    I went to a wedding reception in the downstairs meeting area a long time ago – You’d never know such a space existed there unless you’d been in it! I look forward to it being a clean, safe, modern and moderately priced hotel/motel. I agree with the idea about being nervous about having outside entrances. They have their place, but I understand completely the concern.

  • 2wheels a-go-go December 21, 2010 (9:49 pm)

    Ugh, that’s terrible news about the 560. I use that all the time to go to/from the airport. It’s so convenient and cheap! Now West Seattlites will have to take a bus downtown to transfer to the #194 or catch the Link if they want to take public transit to the airport.

  • LAP December 21, 2010 (10:25 pm)

    Do we take this to mean that the bus to the airport will not stop at the Fauntleroy Ferry dock anymore, either?

  • redblack December 22, 2010 (7:19 am)

    re: the 560. who can we pressure to keep that route and its schedule intact as-is? there’s no good reason why 1/6 of a major city should have to jump through hoops to get to the local airport.
    as a part of the city with a relatively high concentration of single-family homes and residents who almost all have to commute off of the peninsula, we pay a lot into sound transit’s coffers, and we deserve representation.
    sorry for the thread-jack.
    but umm… yeah! motel! if anyone from seattle west is reading, your bricks are the same as those on my house. so if you do any work that involves removing more bricks, let me know. those aren’t made anymore, and i have a couple of repairs to make.

  • LB December 22, 2010 (7:50 am)

    @2wheels a-go-go: The #194 is not an option as it no longer exists (it was discontinued either late last year or earlier this year).

  • miws December 22, 2010 (8:33 am)

    LAP, as long as ST doesn’t change the stops in West Seattle, for the peak hour times it would still be running here, one should still be able to board/deboard at the Ferry Terminal stops.


    But, yeah, when it’s not running to WS, those that live on Vashon, or the Kitsap Peninsula, will be out of luck too, most of the time, just like us in WS.


    And I thought the cutting in short at Westwood proposal was bad. Their reasoning for that, as I recall, was the riders could transfer to/from the 54/upcoming Rapid Ride Line at Westwood.



  • JoB December 23, 2010 (9:15 am)

    thee are a couple of hotels in Portland that have done an upgrade similar to the one they propose that are incredibly successful.. one is an older hotel near the convention center.. i can’t remember the name and the other is Northrup Station.

    if this renovation gets a signature look of some kind i think it could be a real addition to West Seattle.

  • sherry December 26, 2010 (2:27 am)

    That motel is such a dump!!!!! And has been for a long time.. I say bulldoze the whole thing and start over. You’d think some investor would come along and see the potential for a real hotel in West Seattle and build in a better location! The way it looks now is an embarrassment to our city.

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