Tulalip hotel stands tall among buildings in county

TULALIP — The Tulalip Resort hotel easily is the largest hotel between Seattle and the Canadian border, but at 12 stories and 147 feet tall, it also is one of Snohomish County’s tallest buildings.

Everett’s Comcast Arena, if you include its two skyward masts, is the tallest at more than 192 feet. Paine Field’s control tower, the Snohomish County administration building and the Everett Mutual Tower are next, with the Tulalip Hotel coming in just a hair below.

Ken Kettler, president of the Tulalip Resort Casino, noted that early plans for the hotel called for a 14-story structure, which would have made it one of the three tallest buildings in the county. There was concern about building too much too soon, however.

Obviously, setting height records was not a foremost goal of the Tulalip Tribes or Snohomish County when they erected their multistory buildings in recent years. Mark Thunberg, facilities management director for the county, said there are practical reasons to go up rather than out when designing large buildings.

“More square footage in a smaller footprint results in infrastructure efficiencies including HVAC, electrical and plumbing,” Thunberg said. “They lower maintenance costs and make it easier for departments to physically work with each other.”

In the case of the Tulalip Hotel, the height also gives guests in the upper rooms a view of the Cascade Mountains rising to the east.

The hotel’s top-five standing might not last long. At least one building headed toward construction in Everett will soar higher. Providence Everett Medical Center’s new medical tower at its Colby campus, scheduled for completion in 2011, will reach 175 feet. Skotdal Real Estate has plans to build a 19-story building that would be 237 feet tall, but there is no construction date set.

Brett Magnan, the Tulalip Resort Casino’s executive vice president, pointed out that the Tulalip Hotel can claim other distinctions unrelated to its height. In addition to being the largest hotel in this area, it also has the largest ballroom between Seattle and the Canadian border.

Reporter Eric Fetters: 425-339-3453 or fetters@heraldnet.com

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