Milestone for Tulalip Tribes’ luxury hotel

TULALIP — The Tulalip Tribes topped off its 12-story hotel Thursday, announcing in a celebration that, if all goes well, another tower will be built right next door before too long.

The luxury hotel, which was described as a five-star facility of the quality of the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle, won’t be completed until June.

But tribal members held a topping-off ceremony Thursday to celebrate the finish of the hotel’s main structure and to thank the workers involved in it. Tribal chairman Mel Sheldon said seeing the building take shape as he drives past on I-5 “makes me proud.”

“I know it’s going to pull them in,” he said. “There might be another hotel right behind it.”

Sheldon said the hotel should be popular among visitors to the casino and people interested in the Seattle Premium Outlets mall next door.

“Surveys have told us, ‘You will probably be building another tower,’ ” Sheldon said. “Whether it’s one year, two years or three years.”

The casino and shopping center is already a popular stopping point for area residents, tourists and busloads of people from British Columbia. Adding a luxury hotel to the mix may help attract more people from other parts of this country and other countries.

Sheldon noted that the owners of the outlet mall have had strong success in attracting tourists from places such as Japan to its other mall properties.

Sheldon was among several tribal leaders to speak at the ceremony.

Longtime leader Stan Jones called the hotel, casino, mall and other retail stores in Quil Ceda Village just a start. “It will continue up the hills there looking down on the bay,” he said, gesturing to the west.

Tribal board member Marie Zackuse recognized that other tribal leaders had long ago set aside the land now being developed “for the future, seven generations out.” She said the hotel made her “proud of the fact that we are Tulalips.”

Jones, Sheldon, Zackuse and other tribal leaders signed a steel beam painted white to commemorate the topping off of the building. Then construction workers and other tribal members were invited to sign.

An American flag and a Tulalip Tribes flag were affixed to the beam, as well as a Evergreen tree, which was designed to draw all the evil out of the building before it is taken from the top and burned.

Mike Benbow: 425-339-3459;

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Tower tidbits

Building the Tulalip Tribes’ 12-story hotel took:

15,000 cubic yards of concrete.

1,250 tons of rebar.

92 miles of post-tension cable.

125,000 square feet of decking.

165,000 man hours of total work.

62,000 hours of work by 66 tribal members.

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