JEM Building in Downtown Yakima Will Soon Get New Life - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

JEM Building in Downtown Yakima Will Soon Get New Life

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What is old will soon be new again as the face of downtown Yakima continues to change. Now a historic building will be turned into a luxury hotel. What is old will soon be new again as the face of downtown Yakima continues to change. Now a historic building will be turned into a luxury hotel.
YAKIMA, WA-- What is old will soon be new again as the face of downtown Yakima continues to change.  Now contractors plan to turn a historic building into a luxury hotel. 

You can expect to see the outside of the JEM Building in downtown Yakima to stay the same because it is on the National Historic Registry.  Contractors only plan to renovate the inside of the building and preserve the historical nature of it.

The city recently issued a building permit for interior renovation, and the supervising code inspector for the city of Yakima confirmed it is just for interior work, like taking out old ceiling grids and removing walls.  The application did include hotel plans that would come later.

John Baule from the Yakima Valley Museum said it is great the old building will be turned into another attraction in the downtown area.

"It'll bring the building back to life, the longer a building sits vacant and is not used, the more likely it is to perhaps get destroyed in the long run, so you really want to bring it back and you want activity there," Baule said.

The building is more than 100 years old and was said to be the tallest building between Spokane and Seattle until the Larson Building went up.

The Masonic temple at the top is still intact and will remain the same after renovations.

The family who owns the building right now planned to turn it into a luxury hotel before, but pulled those plans in 2013.

There is no word yet on when construction will start.

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