Two of the most recognizable features of downtown Chehalis, Hotel Washington and the Vintage Building, have once again traded hands as part of their 128-year history.
Built the same year Washington became a state, 1889, the two brick buildings were sold for $650,000 to Jason and Shawna Boettner, of Toledo, in November.
“We loved the appeal of the historical aspect of it,” Jason Boettner said. “We quickly fell in love with it.”
The two long-term tenants on the first floor of the hotel, Mackinaw’s Restaurant and Bliss Salon, were part of their attraction to the building, he added. The change in ownership will not affect them at all, he said.
The main changes the Boettners plan on making are in advertising the ballroom and event space on the second level, including building a news website and providing more advertising in general.
Originally, they were only looking to buy the hotel as an investment opportunity. Jason Boettner operates an online retail business and his wife works at Providence Centralia Hospital. However, while looking at the building, they found out it was possible to also purchase the Vintage Building.
“That was sort of icing on the cake,” Jason Boettner said.
Previous owners Frank and Barbara Mason put the buildings on the market for the first time about three years ago, Frank Mason’s daughter and listing agent Kristine Redford who works for Morrison House SIR in Gig Harbor said. After a few months, they decided to take it off the market because they were not ready to sell it. Then, last summer, after it was listed for the third time, several people showed interest in it, including a person in Boulder, Colorado, and another individual in Tacoma.
“We feel that after 20 years it is time to relinquish the historic buildings to someone else,” Barbara Mason said. “It’s time for younger, greater ideas to come forward in downtown Chehalis.”
The pair bought and renovated the building in 1997 after a fire burned out the inside. Frank Mason, who spent his career as a contractor, gutted the building, removed the third floor because it was not salvageable and created the rooftop patio in its place.
He also built the two suites on the first level to make it more attractive for tenants because it would no longer be one huge space.
In addition, he removed the plaster on the interior and exterior walls that had been placed there in the 1950s to “modernize” the building, Mason said. When the brick was exposed, it gave the building back some character, he said.
“Frank put his heart and soul into the building,” Barbara Mason said.
Listing and selling the historic buildings is different than listing and selling residential homes or commercial buildings, Redford said. Although based in Gig Harbor, she takes on listings in other areas.
For residential homes, a buyer is looking at the square footage for the price, she said. For a commercial property, the buyer is looking at the profit per square foot. But for a building of historical importance, there is also a sense of wanting to preserve part of the past.
The hotel is like other historic buildings in cities such as Seattle, she said. The original interior has been gutted and the utilities have been updated, leaving an open space for businesses to move into and shape for their needs.
“What has been great is seeing this come to Chehalis,” Redford said.
Doing this helps smaller businesses open in an intriguing and inviting place, which helps the community grow and flourish, she said.
Boettner said he has been talking with potential tenants for the Vintage Building. Father and son duo Ron and Matthew Swena are in the process of signing a lease agreement for the space in the Vintage Building to open their brewpub 2 Rocks Brewing. They expect to be operational in the summer of next year.
Boettner is also looking for ways to best utilize the upstairs spaces in both buildings for weddings and other events.
For more information, or to book the event space, call 360-740-5328. The website will be operational at a later date.