Coming soon to downtown Seattle: another hotel.
Coming soon to downtown Seattle: another hotel. The State Hotel

The plywood boards covering the Eitel Building's century-old windows are coming down. After sitting mostly vacant for nearly 40 years, the quietly regal, seven-story brick building will be resurrected as The State Hotel. The space, slated to open in summer 2018, will include 90 rooms, a ground-floor restaurant, and "a rooftop terrace overlooking the Pike Place Market sign and Elliott Bay for hotel guests to enjoy," according to a media release.

Lake Union Partners, a Seattle-based real estate group, purchased the Eitel for about $5.4 million in 2016, The Seattle Times reports. Columbia Hospitality, another locally-owned company, will manage and operate the hotel.

"Pike Street is in many ways our Michigan Avenue, so the hotel is located at one of Seattle’s most important intersections, as it is the most direct route for visitors and convention delegates to walk to Pike Place Market and the waterfront," Tom Norwalk, president and CEO of Visit Seattle, said in a statement. "We are looking forward to working with Lake Union Partners and Columbia Hospitality, as they bring a high level of local expertise to the project.”

The Eitel Building once served as an office space in the early 1900s and later became a historical landmark in 2006. Since then, the building, which sits on Second Avenue and Pine Street, fell into disrepair.

The Times has some more details for you architecture history nerds out there:

The Eitel, at 1501 Second Ave., began as a home to small offices where dentists, doctors and others treated the ailments of the city’s residents.

In 1907, an osteopath in the building advertised his ability to treat “Rheumatism, constipation, tumors and chronic diseases,” according to The Seattle Daily Times.

“All foot troubles corrected,” declared another doctor in a 1914 edition of the newspaper. “Use no acids to burn the feet or cause infection.”

The ground-floor retail spaces have had a series of tenants over the past decade including a Dr. Martens footwear store and a wig shop.

Courtesy Photo

The Eitel is also home to many breeding seagulls, a concerned tipster wrote to The Stranger. Gulls have been building nests in the Eitel's dilapidated window sills "for years," he said.

The male seagull "gets protective and starts cawing" at workers who get too close to its mate, who is "sitting all day on the egg or eggs as she is nervous," the tipster wrote in an e-mail. Calls to animal control proved unsuccessful, he said.

So, naturally, he contacted me, a Totally Legit Bird Expert™.

As it turns out, many species of gulls, including the common Western gull, are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which makes it "illegal for anyone to take, possess, import, export, transport, sell, purchase, barter, or offer for sale, purchase, or barter, any migratory bird, or the parts, nests, or eggs of such a bird except under the terms of a valid permit issued pursuant to Federal regulations," according to the United States Department of Fish and Wildlife Services.

When sent a photo of the proximity of a seagull's nest to construction scaffolding, Seth Shteir, conservation manager at the Seattle Audubon Society, said he was "concerned for the bird there, definitely."

"It's not appropriate to disturb them when they have eggs in the nest," Shteir said.

High-rise buildings are a risk to many birds, which often crash into windows because "they don’t see them as a barrier. They see reflections of trees or grass or see right through them and they meet their demise that way," Shteir said.

Gulls are also protected under Washington State law, said Chris Anderson, a district biologist for Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in King County.

"If one is knowledgeable of this gull nesting and is not taking measures to avoid it; and more importantly if they were to move the nest or purposely take the nest/eggs/bird – that would be a violation of state law," he said.

Anderson continued: "I am not knowledgeable of this particular case and cannot speak as to the 'real situation' vs. 'perceived' but from an educational standpoint – folks need to avoid wildlife, taking of wildlife, harassment, etc. without consulting with [the Department of Fish and Wildlife]."

It is not clear whether workers are disturbing the nesting birds or in violation of federal bird protections. Representatives for the State Hotel did not immediately return a request for comment.