Dilapidated Chinook Motel attracts buyer; fix-up and reopening vowed
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Balbir Singh, new co-owner of the former Chinook Motel in Port Angeles, describes on Tuesday some of the renovations that the property will undergo before its reopening under a new name. -- Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Balbir Singh, new co-owner of the former Chinook Motel in Port Angeles, displays a message book dating from 1957 that was once given away to motel patrons.
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A complimentary postcard shows the Chinook Motel in its 1950s heyday — note the Studebaker in the left foreground — as well as one of the deluxe rooms (inset).

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The shuttered Chinook Motel on First Street on the city's east side could be ready to receive customers under the new name of Holiday Lodge in about four months if everything goes as planned for the new owners.

Balbir and Gurpreet Singh, a father-and-son team, closed the sale of the 53-room motel near the intersection of First and Ennis streets earlier this month, paying $700,000 through their company, Holiday Lodge LLC, said the elder Singh on Tuesday.

They plan to begin renovation work once the proper permits are acquired from the city, Balbir Singh added.

City Community and Economic Development Director Nathan West said his planning staff have not received permit applications for motel renovation work as of Tuesday, though he said his staff members have been working with the new owners to help explain what needs to be done with the motel to make it legally habitable.

The property was condemned and closed in June 2009.

Work has begun on cleaning the caked green moss from the motel's asphalt parking lot and clearing out all the old furniture from the dilapidated rooms, Balbir Singh said.

The property had been listed for $799,950 through Aspen Real Estate LLC up until it was purchased.

The Singhs, who live in the Seattle area, bought the property from Aihab Gerges, who inherited the property from his late uncle, William Youtef, who died in March 2012.

Youtef had been living in the motel with his wife, Awatef, until Youtef's death.

At one point, the property was listed for as much as $1.5 million.

The two parcels comprising the motel property are assessed at $514,059, according to the Clallam County Assessor's Office.

Balbir Singh said he hopes to open the Holiday Lodge in four months or so.

Gurpreet Singh, however, seemed less willing to give an estimated timeline on reopening the motel.

“The quicker, the better, but there's always things that come to extend the timeline,” Gurpreet Singh said, “or things that make the timeline go a lot quicker.”

Renovations will include revamping all the motel's rooms, enhancing the exterior of the building and improving the surrounding grounds, Balbir Singh said.

The two eventually want to add a hot tub, and repair and reopen the motel's swimming pool — which was filled in last August by order of the city as part of nuisance-abatement work on the property — though Balbir Singh said this will happen closer to the end of the year after the rooms have been opened.

City Planning Manager Sue Roberds said when the pool was filled in that it was an “eyesore” and that the majority of complaints about the property stemmed from the stagnant water sitting in it.

As part of the renovations, the Singhs will have to contend with the more than 30 separate violations of the city's building and electrical codes that forced the property's condemnation and closure.

The property was found to have water damage and mold in the ceiling, rodent droppings and signs of both living and dead bedbugs, and weeds and grass surrounding the property topping 1 foot in height, according to the city.

“[The city] realized it was beyond habitation — significantly,” Roberds said Tuesday.

Roberds said there are no outstanding fines associated with the property.

She said the new owners will have to fix all issues to the satisfaction of the city and the state Department of Health before it can open for business.

Neither Gurpreet Singh nor his father wanted to estimate how much the renovation and cleanup might cost, with Gurpreet saying those figures would change as more work is done on the property.

“You never want to be too enthusiastic or too pessimistic on any one day because you never know what's going to happen,” Gurpreet Singh said.

The Singhs previously had bought and renovated a motel in Wenatchee and owned it for about seven years before selling it to Motel 6 roughly three years ago, Gurpreet Singh said.

The Chinook Motel, built in the early 1950s, was once a well-visited stop along U.S. Highway 101 and was known for its swimming pool.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 29. 2013 5:54PM
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