The city has selected a contractor for the Aloha Motel’s demolition, which likely will begin the second half of November.
JT Muenscher General Contractor of Everson will do the work. The project is expected to take about four weeks, at an estimated cost of $139,330.
The “Aloha” sign and parking lot will remain, according to Sam Shipp, city of Bellingham project engineer.
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The city bought the 1.5-acre site, which had long been a hub for crime along Samish Way, this year from Sang and Mi Yi for $1.58 million.
After the 28-room motel has been taken down, the city will ask for proposals to redevelop the property.
The classic neon sign will be included in the city’s solicit. If no one wants to use it with the property, officials have said, it could be sold or auctioned as surplus.
The Aloha opened in 1960. Now, it sits abandoned and fenced off.
Part of the demolition will include dealing with asbestos and lead in the building. Some rooms also remained contaminated by methamphetamine.
The city started the process of shutting the Aloha last fall after spending nearly a year building up a case, documenting criminal activity through police reports and taking testimony from surrounding property owners.
Residents from the York and Sehome neighborhood associations pushed the city to do something about the motel because of criminal activity, including the beating death of a man in one of its rooms in December 2013. Nearby business owners reported regularly finding used needles and condoms on their properties, and at least 11 of the motel’s rooms were condemned because of meth contamination.
The Aloha Motel as well as the Villa Inn, also on Samish Way, have been a focus for Bellingham police and officials because they were among those receiving the highest number of police calls.
As news broke of the city’s plans to condemn and raze the Aloha, the owners of the Villa Inn were readying to clean eight rooms that tested positive for meth contamination. Those all have been cleaned, according to the Whatcom County Health Department, which manages such projects.
“They showed every bit of good intent you could hope for. They did everything they were supposed to (and) did it well,” said Jeff Hegedus, environmental health supervisor for the health department, of the Villa Inn’s cleanup.
The health department was asked to test rooms at the Aloha and the Villa Inn for meth contamination.
Officials have said their move against the Aloha was part of an overall plan to clean up Samish Way.
The name of one hotel tested for meth contamination was corrected Oct. 29, 2015.
Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.