Demolition of four motels on TIB getting under way soon

Demolition of four troubled motels on Tukwila International Boulevard will begin soon, nearly three years after they were seized by federal officials in a massive raid. Before they were closed, the four motels were responsible for about a quarter of the police calls in Tukwila.

The Traveler's Choice motel will be the first of four motels to be demolished on Tukwila International Boulevard.

Demolition of four troubled motels on Tukwila International Boulevard will begin soon, nearly three years after they were seized by federal officials in a massive raid.

Before they were closed, the four motels were responsible for about a quarter of the police calls in Tukwila.

First to go is the Traveler’s Choice Motel, just off the Boulevard at South 146th Street, followed by the Spruce, the Boulevard and the Great Bear.

Construction Group International (CGI) of Woodinville was awarded the $603,000 contract by the City of Tukwila to demolish the motels and a smoke shop and leave just landscaped ground under them.

The four properties, now owned by the City of Tukwila, will stand vacant for about a year as the city takes a close look at its own facility needs and those of the Tukwila School District, according to Mayor Allan Ekberg.

“We want to look at this property as a potential for the city but we also want to look at it as a potential for the school district,” he said.

As with major demolition projects, much of the material from the buildings will be recycled, including concrete that’s taken away to be crushed and then reused.

The demolition work could begin as early as this week, according to Robert “Tito” Thacker, the site superintendent for the general contractor. He expects to complete the work in early summer.

Wood and Son Earthwork and Utility, based in Yelm, will do the demolition.

“I am not expecting any surprises,” said Thacker, who has inspected all four motels. He found evidence that people have been living in the boarded motels. Some of the rooms in the Traveler’s Choice look like they are ready for guests, with the beds all made up.

Pre-demolition inspections found some paints and pesticides; a small amount of asbestos was removed from a room in The Boulevard, he said.

City Administrator David Cline in his report to the Tukwila City Council for the Feb. 16 meeting wrote that power-service disconnection from Seattle City Light for the buildings other than Traveler’s Choice may take longer than expected. The city’s construction team is working to shorten the disconnection process with the utility.

The demolition of the Traveler’s Choice will take less than two weeks, Thacker said. Weekday work hours are 7 a.m.-5 p.m.; any work on a weekend would start an hour or two later.

And there will be noise, although the city has not set up a noise hotline. However, residents can call the city with any concerns. There is a mobile-home park next to the Traveler’s Choice and apartment complexes behind the other three motels.

“They are going to be crunching. Machines are loud. They are going to be busting wood,” said Thacker.

The demolition won’t affect traffic on Tukwila International Boulevard, Thacker said. The contractor will build a circular driveway into the three motels, which stand in a row. There will be a flagger on site for any traffic control as needed.

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