Local developer completes renovation of former Stothart Hotel, Mecca Theater

It’s been awhile since Tacoma could point to the century-old Bonnell Building as a sign of what’s good about downtown.
In its most recent incarnation, the building, located at 755 Broadway, was home to the Mecca Adult Theater — a movie-house that showed blue movies and sold pornographic books and magazines for more than 30 years before its owner retired in 2006 and sold the building to a local developer.
That developer, the family-run Gintz Group (Ron Gintz is the company’s chief operating officer; sons Dave and Michael are chief executive officer and chief financial officer, respectively) purchased the building in August 2006 for $2.04 million in the hopes of converting it into a mixed-use residential/commercial building in the city center.
That goal was realized yesterday, when the Mecca opened for a sneak preview of 12 condominium homes for sale. Homes include one-bedrooms, studio flats, and two-bedrooms, and range in price from $199,990 to $369,900. They also offer views of Broadway’s Theater District and Old City Hall (pictured right). The building is also steps away from a Link light rail station. Originally, Gintz Group hoped to open the Broadway Speakeasy — a family-friendly brew pub and movie theater. But that plan has changed. Instead, street-level commercial condominiums are for sale.
This weekend, Gintz Group will host an open house for the general public between 12pm and 6pm.
Originally named the Bonnell Building, the 1908 building operated as the Stothart Hotel for more than 50 years before closing in the 1960s. A decade later, it became the Mecca Adult Theater. During the 1970s, a Tacoma judge and four police officers visited the theater during a screening and deemed the material “did not fit moral standards.” He authorized police officers to seize the adult films. Still, the business survived. In 1986, the owner moved his adult bookstore into the building, and added 25 personal peep show booths.
Gintz Group spent more than a year on renovations, and hired local architecture firm Merritt Arch to handle the interior design and layout.
The Mecca is the latest renovation of a historic property for the downtown Tacoma-based Gintz Group. Earlier this year, the company announced it would purchase the 117-year-old Luzon Building located at 13th Street South and Pacific Avenue downtown. And in 2005, it purchased a 1919 building at 732 Broadway for $950,000, and renovated it into commercial condominiums for its own headquarters and other small businesses.

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For additional photos from yesterday’s Mecca condos sneak preview, visit http://www.kevinfreitas.net/journalPicView.php?eid=1001522&date=2008-05-09&item=01

For more information about Mecca Condominiums, visit http://www.meccacondos.com

For more information about the Gintz Group, visit http://www.gintzgroup.com